Happy Casimir Pulaski Day!

If you’re from Chicago, you are familiar with Casimir Pulaski Day celebrated on the first Monday in March. If you’re not, here’s the quick tour.

Pulaski was born in Poland around 1747. His father instilled in young Pulaski a love of freedom and country. The boy excelled in the skills of war craft, and by age 15 he was an officer in the Polish army. At age 26, Pulaski commanded a band of cavalry that expelled an invading Russian army.

In 1777, Pulaski went to Paris in response to a plea from Benjamin Franklin who was seeking experienced military leaders to aid George Washington back in America. Understanding the American people’s desire to be free, Pulaski sailed for America and reported to General George Washington.

Pulaski was a demanding general who drilled his men hard. He relied heavily on the experiences and tactics he used so successfully in his native Poland. Not willing to suffer losses due to limited funding from Congress, Pulaski used much of his own money to equip and train his men. His bravery and strategic brilliance would later earn him the name “Father of the American Cavalry.”

During the Siege of Savannah in October of 1779, Pulaski took a direct blast from a cannon charge while leading his men into battle. He died days later.

The memory of Pulaski’s ultimate sacrifice is kept alive in the many roads, parks, and schools that bear his name.

In Chicago we keep his memory alive by paying government employees to stay home and by giving school children yet another day off.

The eight-year old daughter of a friend announced that she had no school on Monday …”since it’s Casual Plastic Day!”

If you don’t know the name of the holiday,

and you don’t know the purpose of the holiday,


is another day off school.

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