When most Springfieldians hear the name Casimir Pulaski, it brings back memories of long, lazy Mondays off, when sleeping in late wasn’t a big deal. But who really is Casimir Pulaski? And why is he so important that kids in Illinois get to take a day off school for him?
Most people couldn’t tell you much about Pulaski; maybe they’ll mention something about Chicago or how he’s Polish.
While they’re not wrong, there is so much more to him and the impact he had on our history than most of us realize.
I’ll spare you most of the boring details and get right to the good stuff.
Pulaski came to the United States in 1777 from Poland, although he had already become buds with a certain Founding Father (Ben Franklin) in Paris around 1745.
During this time he was only 15, but Pulaski and other Polish nobility were vehemently opposing Russian interference in their affairs.
Ben Franklin was present to observe their efforts and word traveled back to Washington about how awesome Pulaski was. Finally he came to Philadelphia in 1777 to meet the aforementioned General Washington.
With Pulaski’s help, the United States was able to take a big step in the right direction during the war. Pulaski became recognized as a brilliant battle tactician, a Brigadier-General, and the “Father of American Cavalry.” He proved himself in battle time and time again, defeating redcoats and bringing us closer to victory.
It’s no wonder such an awesome dude got his own holiday! But the reason most people do not know who Casimir Pulaski is is because of the range of this holiday’s celebration.
Casimir Pulaski Day is observed predominantly in Chicago and the surrounding areas of Illinois.
Occurring on the first Monday of every March, the day differs from year to year. In 2017 it was celebrated very recently, as of March 6.