National Independence Day

On Saturday 11 November in Warsaw the main celebrations of National Independence Day took place. At 09.00 in the Holy Cross Church, mass was given by the Polish Army Bishop Gen. Tadeusz Płoski.

At 10.30 in the Presidential Palace, Lech Kaczyński handed out state honours, nominations for generals and for the first time Military Cross Order honours.

For outstanding service during military operations, for skillful and effective command of combat units


Gen. Bronisław Kwiatkowski

For outstanding service in combat action, for courage and personal bravery:
was awarded to:

WO Mariusz Korner
Cpl. Mariusz Tomasz Sawicki
Sgt. Łukasz Paweł Sikora
Sgt. Zbigniew Ulaszewski
posthumously to
Sgt. Tomasz Murkowski

Furthermore, the President awarded the Cavalier’s Cross of the Military Cross Order to three soldiers from the GROM special forces unit.

The President of the Republic of Poland on the recommendation of the Minister of National Defence issued the rank of general to professional soldiers. Those appointed were:

to the rank of Lieutenant General:
Major General Józef Stanisław Buczyński
Major General Zdzisław Ludwik Goral
Major General Waldemar Henryk Skrzypczak

to the rank of Major General:
Brigadier General Sławomir Jan Dygnatowski
Brigadier General Paweł Mirosław Lamla

To the rank of Brigadier General:
Colonel Andrzej Piotr Andrzejewski
Colonel Jerzy Biziewski
Colonel Andrzej Piotr Duks
Colonel Kazimierz Gilarski
Colonel Krzysztof Kucharski
Colonel Włodzimierz Lucjan Nowak
Colonel Marek Ziemowit Tomaszycki


At 12.00 at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a ceremonial changing of the guard took place involving units of the Polish Army representing the Branches of the Armed Forces, Military Districts, the Military Police, the Police, the Fire Service and mounted units of the Cavalry Troop. Taking part in the event were the President of Poland and Head of the Armed Forces Lech Kaczyński, the Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński, the Marshal of the Sejm and Senate, the Minister of National Defence Radosław Sikorski, the Chief of the General Staff Gen. Franciszek Gągor, senior Ministry of Nation Defence officials and Polish Army command staff, representatives of local authorities, political and social organisations, veterans and scouts. As part of the event, 12 cannon salvos were fired and wreaths were laid at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. During the roll of honour, soldiers who gave up their lives over the ages were mentioned. The ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier ended with a parade of the formations that were present. After the parade, the President along with a government and parliamentary delegation laid wreaths at the statue of Marshal Józef Piłsudski.

Address by the President of Poland Lech Kaczyński:

”Ladies and Gentlemen, Generals, Officers, Soldiers of the Polish Army, and all those gathered here!

88 years ago, the dreams were fulfilled of almost five generations of Poles, dreams about an independent Poland. Poland was reborn anew. That success was the fruit of battles fought from Kościuszko Rising all the way up to 1918. It was the success of those who for over 120 years remained steadfast. 1918 was the year the First World War ended. At that time we had the Polish reinforcement corps, two corps in Russia and Haller’s army in France. We had a well-developed political life; for more than two years the Polish administration was being established. We had an elite that was consistently striving for independence. All of this created the conditions for rebuilding the state in an unusually difficult situation.

On 11th November 1918, when the German garrison was disarmed, our country had no permanent borders, only a small number of the Polish armed forces were present in our country; enemies were lurking from every side – and despite everything in the space of three years Poland, fighting on almost all its borders, managed to secure a country of close to 400,000 square kilometers, repel the Soviet attack, in short – it achieved success.

Why was this possible? During the roll of honour, the names of many Poles from those times. It is worth remembering one thing: that these people, representing different camps – the independence-left camp and the national camp, peasants, socialists – were able to agree with each other in the most important matters. In 1919, the head of state was Józef Piłsudski, and the Polish delegate to Versailles conference was Roman Dmowski. People who in terms of ideas, politics and principles were in conflict with each other, but in the conditions of creating Poland, in conditions that were threatening the state, these people were able to agree.

Today, Ladies and Gentlemen, Compatriots, we are living in different times. Poland for over 17 years now has been free. The country is safe; enemies are not lying in wait at our borders. The country is developing quickly, unemployment is falling – the greatest plague of ours – crime is falling. We are attempting with great difficulty to eliminate pathology in our life but what we are lacking, and not for the first time, is agreement in the most important matters. In these elementary matters connected with the existence of out nation, with the correct functioning of our state, irrespective of political differences that are normal, we should be able to agree. And it is the main message of this joyful day, because today is a joyful holiday, the holiday of the birth, the rebirth of our Homeland. A holiday that we should celebrate not only here on Marshal Piłsudski Square in Warsaw, but in every Polish family. Whereas the message of agreement in the most important matters should be the most important message of this holiday. Thank you very much.”


Straight after the end of the celebration on Marshal Józef Piłsudski Square in the Warsaw Garrison Command President Lech Kaczyński ceremonially opened the Tradition Room. The information, photographs and other exhibits displayed in it refer to the history of military authorities in the capital, which also give a picture of the achievements and tasks being carried out by the Warsaw Garrison Command. Some of the exhibits are connected with contacts with partner countries, particularly with the commands of capital garrisons of Central European countries, and also the cooperation of Warsaw Garrison Command with state institutions, non-governmental organisations, s and associations.