Weeks after destructive protesters defaced a monument dedicated to a Revolutionary War hero, a visiting foreign president shamed them with a respectful visit to the memorial.
Polish President Andrzej Duda visited the monument to Tadeusz Kosciuszko Wednesday during his trip Washington, D.C., to meet with President Donald Trump.
The monument, located in Lafayette Park, was defaced as protests swept the city earlier this month.
While the park was in chaos weeks ago, Duda’s Wednesday visit was much less spectacular.
With no angry mob, no riot police and very little media attention, Duda simply walked to the memorial, placed a wreath and bowed his head in silence.
“A few weeks ago, Tadeusz Kosciuszko’s monument was vandalized,” Polish presidential staff member Marcin Czaplinski tweeted. “President [Duda] begins his visit in [Washington, D.C.] by paying tribute to a proponent for the abolition of slavery, a distinguished son of [Poland], and hero of the American Revolution.
“We remember your sacrifice!”
Watch the video of Duda’s visit to the Kosciuszko memorial below:
A few weeks ago, Tadeusz Kościuszko’s monument was vandalized. President @AndrzejDuda begins his visit in #WashingtonDC by paying tribute to a proponent for the abolition of slavery, a distinguished son of #Poland, and hero of the American Revolution. We remember your sacrifice! pic.twitter.com/8dMqD4yX3r
— Marcin Czapliński (@czaplinskiii) June 24, 2020
Considering Kosciuszko’s history, it seems protesters who defaced the monument had no idea who the war hero was.
According to Smithsonian Magazine, the Polish-born war hero was a central player in many of our fledgling nation’s military victories.
Kosciuszko, who shared the sentiments of freedom and liberty with the American rebels, was attracted like a magnet to the conflict.
He offered his services as a military engineer to Continental forces, and was welcomed with open arms. Kosciuszko’s skill and wit would frustrate British assaults and harden the defenses of American forts, saving countless lives.
Owing to his love of freedom, the Polish engineer was also a fierce advocate for the abolition of slavery.
In his will, Kosciuszko directed that his American holdings be used to buy the freedom of some of Thomas Jefferson’s slaves. Jefferson, a friend of Kosciuszko, was named the will’s executor, but the requests in it were never fulfilled.
It’s unlikely protesters knew any of this before defacing his monument.
Although the heroes of American history are being forgotten and outright vilified by some, President Duda’s act of respect shows that these historical figures will not be so easily cast aside by the mob.
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