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Polish Armed Forces Reception, Embassy of the Republic of Poland (Washington, D.C.)
As Delivered by Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon R. England, Embassy of the Republic of Poland, Washington, D.C., Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Dobry wieczór!  Good evening…..  It’s great to be here at the Polish Embassy.  Mr. Ambassador—it is most gracious of you to host this reception.  Let me add my congratulations to you and all Poles as you celebrate Polish Armed Forces Day!
The United States and Poland have long shared a strong alliance and a deep, personal friendship.  Our two countries and militaries have benefitted from a strong relationship that dates back to America’s War of Independence.  Even today many of Poland’s military heroes are admired and respected in our country. 

Thaddeus Kosciuszko, for example, came to the U.S. and served as Colonel of Engineers in the Continental Army.  Among his many accomplishments, he designed the powerful fortress at West Point, which served briefly as George Washington’s headquarters in 1779.  Today, it is home to the United States Military Academy. 

Count Casimir Pulaski also came to America, quickly earning a reputation as ‘Father of the American Cavalry.’  At the battle of Savannah, General Pulaski bravely led his Legion against intense British musket and cannon fire.  In a courageous attempt to rally French and American troops, he was hit by a piece of grapeshot, becoming the only foreign General to be killed in action during the entire U.S. Revolutionary War. 

Throughout history, the Polish people have been active and willing partners in the defense of freedom.  Since 9-11, Polish troops have bravely served shoulder to shoulder with us in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We thank you for your many contributions and sacrifices. 

Today, the United States and Poland continue to work together on a number of important issues, including helping Poland to modernize your Armed Forces.  We’re also working on establishing an important bilateral agreement to further improve cyber security.  And, the U.S. is very pleased to have signed the Ballistic Missile Defense Agreement last month with Poland.  By partnering together on these and other meaningful endeavors, the U.S. and Poland are ensuring a safer world. 

Mr. Ambassador….  Robert….  I thank you for your hard work and for your personal friendship as we continue to strengthen the strong bonds between our nations. 

Congratulations on this special occasion—thank you!