1939 Commemoration: The 75th Anniversary of WWII

2014Commemoration WEBGreetings!  You’ve reached the home for all information on the Polish Mission’s annual commemoration of the outbreak of the Second World War in Poland, offered this year in continued cooperation with the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum of Abilene, Kansas.  In honor of the 75th anniversary it’s our honor to donate fifty percent of the proceeds to the Wounded Warrior Project.  Honor the past, and show your support for our American and Polish veterans at Orchard Lake, by joining us on Sunday, September 7th.  As we honor the memory of all servicemen and women who dedicated themselves to the cause of freedom, specially salute those who fought for Poland in 1939 (75 years ago), those who landed in Normandy on D-Day (70 years ago), those who fought in the battle of Monte Cassino (70 years ago), and those who fought in the Warsaw Uprising of 1944 (70 years ago)

This year’s Commemoration will feature:

– An outdoor evening concert by the Orchard Lake Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Detroit Children’s Choir at 5:00 PM on the steps of our Shrine Chapel in the center of campus.  Pieces will include a specially arranged version of Mazurek Dabrowskiego, the Armed Forces Salute, and other popular selections.

– A detachment of active duty servicemen and women from the United States military, who will present the Polish Mission’s collection of historic military flags at the beginning of holy mass, and carry them on a ceremonial parade through campus

– The original M1897 75mm artillery piece from World War One will return to Orchard Lake for this year’s veteran recognition ceremony.  This quick-firing cannon is regarded as the first modern artillery piece, as its hydro-pneumatic recoil mechanism allowed soldiers to shoot up to fifteen rounds per minute.  When Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia invaded Poland in 1939, the “French 75” was in widespread use by Polish forces.

– The unveiling of North America’s only permanent monument to the 1939 invasion of Poland.  The monument is a full-scale functioning border crossing gate–an exact replica of the one pictured here, in a Nazi German propaganda photo taken shortly after the invasion.  Our monument will receive a special blessing, and then ceremonially broken as a memorial to those who fell defending Poland.

– Several museum exhibitions displayed at the Galeria and outdoors at the Shrine Chapel.  We’re grateful to The Institute of National Remembrance of the Republic of Poland, The Museum of Polish History, and the Galicja Jewish Museum, for partnering with The Polish Mission to display a comprehensive educational experience at the 1939 Commemoration.  The exhibitions will be on display from 12:30 PM – 5:00 PM.

– A coin challenge barbecue lunch.  American-style barbecue will be prepared by Orchard Lake chefs on the front lawn of the Galeria for $7, but if you’ve served, make sure to bring your challenge coin, and have lunch on us!  Beverages and additional snacks will be available for purchase throughout the day.

– Lectures by St. Mary’s Preparatory Headmaster Mr. Cormac Lynn, Ed.S. and award winning author Mr. Kenneth Koskodan on the United States’ and Poland’s role in WWII.  Lynn’s lecture will focus on the United States’ intervention in WWII up until the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941, and Koskodan’s will focus on the the defensive war Poland fought in 1939, and the subsequent operations of the Polish underground up until the Warsaw Uprising of 1944.

PROGRAM (Subject to change)

12:30 PM: Galeria and exhibits open for viewing until 5:00 PM

1:00 PM: Holy Mass celebrated in Polish by Fr. Louis Madey, USMC (Ret.)  All are welcome to attend.  Military flags presented by US military.

2:00 PM: All are invited to pose with the military honor guard at attention on the steps of the Shrine Chapel

2:20 PM: Veteran recognition ceremony by North America’s only monument erected in honor of the Katyn massacres of 1940, and the tragedy at Smolensk in 2010.  Most honored guest speaker will be Captain Emil Kornacki (Ret.), North America’s last living survivor of Katyn, and recipient of the Virtuti Militari.  Artillery salute, and taps

2:30 PM: Barbecue!  Challenge coins get a free lunch; for all others, lunch is $7, which includes side dishes, and a beverage.

3:00 PM: Headmaster Cormac Lynn, Ed.S., will deliver his lecture in the Shrine Chapel

4:00 PM: Kenneth Koskodan will deliver his lecture in the Shrine Chapel immediately following.

5:00 PM: The Detroit Children’s Choir will open the evening’s musical entertainment on the steps of the Shrine Chapel.

5:30 – 7:00 PM: The Orchard Lake Philharmonic Orchestra will commence the main performance immediately following.  There will be a 15-minute intermission, and beverages will be available for purchase throughout the performance.

Interested in becoming an event sponsor?  Click here to donate and have an ad reserved in our program book!

Click here for a printable 8.5 x 11-inch flyer, and click here for a map of the Orchard Lake Schools campus.

Email 1939@orchardlakeschools.com with any questions.


  1. David,I am a wee bit more north of Krakow so I can’t speak about that area but were we are at it can be a struggle. My 5 and 7 year old go to an ienrtnational school here but I do work with them here at home as the school is about a year behind compared to the US standards. My teenager we do online school that is based in CA, so it is a bit easier. We have a VERY small expat community here so it a bit of a challenge but Krakow has a good sized expat community so I am sure you will all do fine. Shipping here can be expensive so make sure you bring everything with you! The neat thing about schooling over here is that they will experience things that a typical US child would only imagine. My oldest took Humanities class at university last semester in ND and they were talking about castles churches and such and for the most part he was the only one in his class that had seen in real life what they were learning from a text book!If you have any other questions about moving to Poland don’t hesitate to shot me an email.Kelley

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