As a Chicago based music blog, we feel it’s important to celebrate Casimir Pulaski Day — a holiday that mostly only Illinois residents (and really thorough Sufjan Stevens fans) know. Most people here actually have no idea who Pulaski was–and Sufjan’s song hardly addresses the issue, so we thought we would share these 5 fun facts from AOL News. Now if you’re ever on Jeopardy against Watson, and one of these questions comes up, you can totally kick its ass!
Happy Casimir Pulaski Day, everyone!!
Sufjan Stevens – Casimir Pulaski Day (mp3)
5 fun facts:
1. Polish war hero
From 1768 to 1771, Pulaski, who was born in Poland, fought against Russian and Prussian forces that were wielding enormous influence in Poland. But he was forced to leave Poland forever after being accused of plotting to assassinate the king of Poland.
2. Friend of Benjamin Franklin
After he fled Poland, Pulaski traveled to Turkey, then ended up in France. There, he came to know Benjamin Franklin and began to learn about the then-young American Revolutionary War. Pulaski, who had fought for Poland’s independence, was impressed by what Franklin described and decided to volunteer to help the American rebels. Franklin recommended him to George Washington
3. Brilliant military tactician
Pulaski headed to America to help with the war effort, where he took part in several battles. In the 1777 battle of Brandywine, he is believed to have saved George Washington’s life and uncovered a sneak attack by the British. His actions at Brandywine earned him a promotion to brigadier general. He was in charge of the first cavalry, giving him the nickname “Father of the American Cavalry.”
4. Killed on the battlefield
Pulaski once said, “I came here, where freedom is being defended, to serve it, and to live or die for it.” Indeed, he did die for it, falling in battle in Savannah, Ga., in 1779. He was struck by cannon fire while riding on a horse.
5. An honorary American citizen
In 2009, Pulaski became just the seventh person to posthumously receive honorary American citizenship. He joins William Penn and Penn’s wife, fellow Revolutionary War hero Marquis de Lafayette, Winston Churchill, Mother Teresa and Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish man who helped save Jews during the Holocaust.