|Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski at West Point|
|Attorney Adrian Baron and David Goclowski |
of the Polonia Business Association
|West Point cadets at the ceremony|
So what's the big deal? I know what you're thinking. I have it made. The United States Government is preventing my mother in law from visiting me. Maybe I'm strange. I like my mother in law. You might find it surprising to learn that the citizens of all of the former Axis powers do not need to go through this dog and pony show. (If you are not familiar with World War II, it is the one featured in the first Captain America movie). The citizens of Germany, Japan and Italy can come freely to the United States. The citizens of Poland cannot.
It's strange. The Polish are considered one of America's staunchest allies in the region. They have a long history of supporting our nation. Poles were among the first European settlers in the US. They were at Jamestown. Polish generals taught our young nation how to build fortifications and develop a cavalry during the Revolutionary War. Polish code breakers decoded the Nazi enigma code during WWII. Polish fighter pilots are credited for the most shot down Nazi planes in the Battle of Britain. The efforts of the Polish born Pope and the members of the Solidarity movement helped bring down the Soviet Union. They gave the world the poetry of Milosz, the music of Chopin and the science of Copernicus and Madame Curie. Poland is one of the most stable European allies of the United States. Our NATO ally was with American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are statues to Polish kings in New York's Central Park. There are cities, towns, bridges, and highways named after Polish citizens who helped our nation. That guy on the horse in front of the Federal building in Hartford? He's a Polish general that helped our nation gain independence. Ironically, Polish citizens get to walk past that monument on the way to the immigration office.
It's shameful that Poles are required to get visas to visit our country. Most European Union countries have no visa requirements. Countries that have histories of being less supportive of our efforts.Many Polish citizens do not have the opportunity to visit these monuments to their countrymen. It also means lost tourism dollars to Connecticut. My mother in law would love to visit Blue Back Square, the casinos, or New Britain's Little Poland neighborhood. And the woman knows how to shop.
Isn't it time we showed our thanks to this longtime ally. Why can't someone's babcia visit her grand kids in Connecticut. There are approximately 300,000 Poles living in the state. New Britain has an officially designated Little Poland neighborhood. It's time to let babcia come visit. If you agree, contact your local officials and tell them to drop the visa requirement for Polish citizens.