Pulaski Day: More Than A Street

Illinois holiday honors fallen Polish military man

It's Pulaski Day. Chicagoans know Pulaski, right? 

Sure, it's a north/south thouroghfare that runs at 4000 West, five miles west of State Street. In continues into the north suburbs, but up there they still call it by its former name, Crawford Avenue. 

So, why make a holiday out of this broad strip of asphalt, giving kids the day off of school and closing some government offices in town?  In fact, as the Sun-Times reports, It's the only-in-Illinois holiday and comes on the first Monday of each March.

Well, there's more to Pulaski than traffic

It honors Brigadier Gen. Casimir Pulaski, a famed cavalry officer and freedom fighter in Poland who, at the behest of Benjamin Franklin, joined the American Revolutionary War effort and became a hero and a lasting source of pride for Polish-Americans here and elsewhere.

Chicago is home to the second largest Polish population in the world, beat out only by Warsaw.

Pulaski -- known as the father of the American cavalry -- died after being wounded in October 1779 in a battle to take back Savannah, Ga., from the British.

So the holiday is about the hero, not the roadway.

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