USSR and Germany invading countries in 1939

This often reminds me of the Kosciuszko Bridge that connects Brooklyn and Queens here in NYC, near the old Polish neighborhood of Greenpoint. The bridge was named the Meeker Bridge until 1940, but at a ceremony that summer in front of 15,000 Polish-Americans (many of them very recent immigrants who had just barely gotten out) it was renamed for Tadeusz Kościuszko, who fought for the U.S. in the American Revolution when he wasn't busy kicking ass in a losing cause for Poland.

The symbolism should be clear - a hero who fought partition being honored at the moment of new partition.

When I go across the new Kosciuszko Bridge that replaced the old one a few years ago, I often think about that ceremony and the emotions of the crowd. All these Polish people who were here in NYC and safe, but they were angry, sad, probably both relieved to be here and feeling guilty to be relieved, and worried about friends and family.

The mayor of NYC gave a speech that day, as did some other local officials. The New York Times covered it, and they quote the NY Attorney General's speech which had these great lines:

"When we remember that Poland produced Kosciuszko and other great heroes like the great Casimir Pulaski, I am confident that Poland will live again. Any land that breeds such lovers of freedom can never be kept enslaved. The Polish people may be captive, but the flaming spirit of Polish liberty will never be destroyed."

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