Casimir Pulaski Day honors Continental Army general

Casimir Pulaski

Drawing of Casimir Pulaski from Flickr.

Every day on the calendar marks some sort of holiday or another, and today is Casimir Pulaski Day. Many made up holidays celebrate food, drinks or customs such as talking like a pirate. A lot of these are dreamed up by manufacturers of certain products to promote sales. Perhaps we should create National Online Cash Advance Day? Casimir Pulaski Day is a different sort of holiday. Casimir Pulaski Day is a legally recognized holiday in just a few states, where there are varying degrees of observance.

Who was Casimir Pulaski?

On the first Monday in March, Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana recognize Casimir Pulaski Day. Casimir Pulaski was a Polish immigrant to the United States who served as a general in The American Revolutionary War under George Washington. According to Wikipedia, Casimir Pulaski saved George Washington’s life, but there aren’t any further details.

Casimir Pulaski was quickly recognized as a brilliant military tactician, and he became Brigadier-General in charge of Four Horse Brigades, according to Pennsylvania’s Polish-American Center. It’s generally believed that certain states recognize Casimir Pulaski Day because of their relatively large Polish immigrant populations.

Father of the American Cavalry

Casimir Pulaski is perhaps most widely recognized for his contributions to the inception of the American Cavalry. The Polish-American Center writes that “in 1773, through Washington’s intervention, Congress approved the establishment of the Cavalry and put Pulaski at its head.”

This earned Casimir Pulaski the title many use to recognize him today, “the father of the American cavalry.” According to the PAC, even when military loans weren’t available, he insisted on the best for his men:

Pulaski often used his own personal finances, when allocations from Congress were scarce, in order to assure his forces of the finest equipment and personal safety.

Observing Casimir Pulaski Day

Because Casimir Pulaski Day is only a holiday in certain states, no federal services, such as mail, are interrupted. However, Chicago Public Schools and some surrounding districts are closed, and all school districts in Illinois have the option of being closed. The same goes for Wisconsin and Indiana school districts. Also state government buildings in those states are closed today.

Other states, including Kentucky, Pennsylvania, New York and Michigan, observe General Pulaski’s Day on Oct. 11. Pulaski died from battle wounds he received during the Siege at Savannah on Oct. 9, 1779. Many Polish-Americans also consider General Pulaski’s Day and Casimir Pulaski Day a celebration of their heritage.