I would have to ask my sister, because she knows this stuff. I'm no good with details.
I think we are fourth-generation Polish immigrants. I believe it was my grandparent's grandparents, (on both of my grandfathers and one grandmother's side of the family) that emigrated to the United States from Poland, or possibly what was then Prussia, early this century. I don't know who or when, but I know that some time in the course of that history, our fore mothers lived in the Gdansk region, which was at some point under Russian rule. As such, while I am certainly of Polish blood, I have taken my own liberty to declare myself a somewhat honorary Russian. That's why I find this story about the plane crash that killed the Polish President and 96 others to be so compelling.
"The president, top military commanders, and the head of the National Bank—they were all on the same plane? My American friends, who keep calling me to express their sympathy, cannot comprehend it. “How is it possible? Whenever people in my company travel to a conference, they put us on at least two separate flights,” one of them observed in disbelief. Yes, they were on the same plane, and it was an old Soviet-made Tupolev-154. It doesn’t take much to imagine it was rusty, right? ..
I come from a country that hates fire drills...and where we do not like to buy insurance. Jakoś to będzie, a phrase that does not translate well into English, but which comes close to “somehow things will work out,” sounds like a Polish motto.
- Magdalena Rittenhouse, The Daily Beast
I have heard enough Polish jokes in my lifetime that I admit, when I heard this news, my thoughts mirrored the ones listed here thinking, you have got to be kidding me-leave it to the Poles to pile the most important people in Polish society and fly them all on one airplane. Is this a joke?
I did not know about the terrible events that happened in the Katyn forest until this weekend and if you would have asked me who the Polish President was, I would not have been able to tell you. I don't follow Russian-Polish relations or Polish current events. I am a million miles away literally and figuratively.
But I imagine that the people in that country, which is about as big as the state where I live, must be feeling a great deal of pain and sadness today. I wish I would have had a clear head and the mindfulness to wear something red in honor of the people of Poland. But I didn't. Like I said, not so good with the details.