Squadron Exhibit dedicated at the New England Air Museum
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LOCKS, CT – November 8, 2007 -- The new Kościuszko Squadron
Exhibit at the New England Air Museum will be officially opened
to the public at 10 a.m. on Sunday, November 11. The exhibit
will become a permanent part of the Museum's collection and will
be available for viewing on a daily basis.
Central Connecticut State University‘s Stanislaus A. Blejwas
Endowed Chair in Polish and Polish American Studies and the New
England Air Museum developed the exhibit to honor the Kościuszko
Squadron, an aviation unit that helped to defend the newly
re-constituted Polish nation from early Soviet attacks. As U.S.
veterans of World War I volunteered to fly with the squadron, it
was named in honor of an American Revolutionary War hero from
Poland, Tadeusz Kościuszko.
The New England Air Museum, located by Bradley International
Airport in Windsor Locks, Conn., is one of the nation's oldest
and largest aviation museums. Its collection is extensive and
includes artifacts and memorabilia from all periods of aviation
beginning with the oldest surviving aircraft in the United
States right up to the modern era. The Museum is open from 10
a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, all year round.
Dr. M.B. Biskupski, holder of the Blejwas Endowed Chair at CCSU,
noted: “The display is important to Polish-American relations
for several reasons. First is that, after World War I, seasoned
American combat pilots volunteered for Polish service out of a
sense of debt to Poland as the homeland of Tadeusz Kościuszko.
During the American Revolution, Kościuszko was a well-trained
professional officer whose experience and talents as a military
leader were of inestimable value in helping to mold the
fledgling American armed force that ultimately defeated the
professionally-trained British Army.
“Second, Kościuszko has an interesting connection to
Connecticut, the state in which such aviation pioneering
companies as the Pratt & Whitney aircraft engine company and the
Sikorsky Aircraft Company flourished. In 1776, General
Kościuszko was recruited in France by Benjamin Franklin and
Connecticut native Silas Deane, a delegate to the American
“Hence, there is a real sense of closing the circle of history
by having this valiant Pole, General Tadeusz Kościuszko, honored
by members of American Polonia in the Nutmeg State. And, of
course, giving long overdue recognition to the air unit that
helped secure Polish independence following World War I and
played a crucial role in defending Great Britain during World
War II,” Biskupski said.
“A great community effort raised over $40,000 to enable the
development of this exhibit to honor Poland’s famed Kościuszko
Squadron,” said Central Connecticut State University President
“The Kościuszko Squadron has become symbolic of Polish-American
cooperation and that same spirit of Polish-American
cooperation,” Miller said. “A community advisory committee
chaired by Mary Mazurek Heslin – worked very hard with some 170
individuals, associations and organizations interested in
preserving and honoring this part of Polish history and
heritage. The committee also coordinated the donation of two
original Polish Air Force uniforms and other memorabilia.”
Members of the Kościuszko Squadron Commemorative Committee are:
Prof. Biskupski, Dr. Peszke, Polish Air Force Veterans
Association President K.S. Rasiej, P.E., Igor I. Sikorsky, Jr.,
Esq., and Harvey Hubbell, IV. Close liaison with the New England
Air Museum is maintained by an Executive Committee of the Polish
Studies Program chaired by Biskupski and including Peszke, CCSU
Associate Vice President Nicholas Pettinico, Jr., and Chairman
of the Advisory Board of CCSU’s Polish Studies Program Waldemar
Kostrzewa. The committee’s honorary patron is Joseph E. Gore,
Esq., President of the Kościuszko Foundation in New York.
According to Museum Executive Director Michael P. Speciale: "The
New England Air Museum is extremely pleased to play such an
important role in telling the story of this little known but
heroic chapter of aviation history. NEAM is one of the nation's
outstanding aviation museums and, as such, it will prove to be a
fitting home for the Kosciuszko exhibit."
Further information about the Kościuszko Squadron memorial is
available by calling 860-832-3010 or on-line at: www.ccsu.edu/Kosciuszko/.
Information about the Museum can be found at (860) 623-3305 or
by visiting www.neam.org
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