It’s Pulaski Day. Do you know why it’s celebrated in Illinois?
The holiday for Chicago city workers, school children and others around the state is observed in honor of Brigadier Gen. Casimir Pulaski the first Monday of every March.
Pulaski was a famed cavalry officer and freedom fighter in Poland who, at the behest of Benjamin Franklin, joined the American Revolutionary War. Known as the father of the American cavalry, he died after being wounded in October 1779 in a battle to take back Savannah, Ga., from the British.
But why is Pulaski honored here rather than any other Polish war hero from the Revolutionary War? Because Pulaski is easier to pronounce than Kosciuszko (Ko-SHOOSH’-ko).
“[Thaddeus] Kosciuszko was much more influential, but Pulaski was better known because Pulaski died this glorious death running into battle in Savannah — and his name was much easier to pronounce. George Washington spelled Kosciuszko’s name 11 different ways,” said Alex Storozynski, a former New York Daily News writer and author of a book about Kosciuszko.
On Monday, the city of Chicago and Cook County will observe Casimir Pulaski Day, a holiday in honor of the Polish-born cavalry officer fatally wounded in the Revolutionary War. Following is a partial list of closings.
Schools: Public schools in Chicago and many suburbs will close.
Libraries: All Chicago public libraries will be closed.
Government offices: All city of Chicago and Cook County offices will close, but federal and state offices will remain open.
Postal service: Mail will be delivered.
Courts: Cook County courts closed, except for Central Bond Court. All federal and state courts will be open.
Banks and financial markets: Most banks and all financial markets will be open.
Transit: Metra, Pace and the CTA will operate normal weekday schedules.