when I wear all black, something sad happened. It isn't that black is my color for depression, it's my color for mourning and only for mourning. Black just doesn't work well when you are outside with children all day, it shows dust and pollen and all the perils of looking pretty in Nature.
Today I wear black. Even on our walk today in the woods, I wore it along with the silver pin my Babcia gave me of the Polish Eagle. One year ago today, I wore black.
One year ago today, I turned on the computer, searched the daily world news and fell on my knees. In shock, I searched throughout several news sites, thinking it had been a hoax. I turned on the TV looking for coverage, of which I believe only BBC and perhaps CNN were the only news stations to cover the tragic event which was choking my throat with tears.
The President of Poland had been killed in a plane crash at Smolensk, along with his wife and 94 others. The other victims included Ryszard Kaczorowski, the last President of Poland in exile, the Military Chiefs of Staff (Army, Air force, Navy), the Head Army Chaplain, The national bank governor, The Head of the National Security Bureau, a Deputy Foreign Minister, three Deputy Parliament speakers, Olympic Committee head, the civil rights commissioner Janusz Kochanowski, Presidential Aide, widely known national lawmakers (including core members of the Law and Justice party), Bishops, Priests, relatives of the Katyn Massacre victims, etc.
Smolensk. The word had held a certain meaning behind it before in Polish history and culture. It also held a place in Russian, Lithuanian, and Mongolian culture. With French culture, due to it's ties with Napoleon. With German culture, for the Battle of Smolensk during WWII. It was one word but like many such words in that area of the world, it meant more than just a city.
The people on the Tu-154 were on their way to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Katyn Massacre.
Katyn. Another word which belies deep meaning for many people.
To say Katyn is not to talk about a place on the map. It is an event in human history which for a long time was denied by perpetrators, collaborators, and other countries simply because the discovery of it was not convenient to them. It is a tragic event. Katyn is said with reverence, a deep dark pool in the Polish subconscious of a reminder that the first line of the National Anthem is "Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła" (Poland is not yet lost).
Now, Smolensk, irregardless of what we shall finally find out to be the truth behind the tragic event, is forever tied to Katyn.
If you knew me, you would understand that even if this means nothing to you, this means something to me.
And I would expect you to grasp this on a level many comprehend. And many, many more do not.
Imagine (and I fervently pray that this never were to happen) the President of the United States, his wife, the Chiefs of our Military (All branches), the Leader of the Secret Service, the Leader of the CIA, some of the most important Bishops and other priests of our country (assuming that the USA was more devout to the church on a 1,000 years of history level), the Head of the Senate and the House of Representatives, a couple of Supreme Justices, the Secretary of State, some prominent civil rights activists, lawmakers, and other important figures in the US culture today, along with victims of some tragic event in US history perpetrated by an invading force who had tried, with the help of another invading force, to wipe the USA from the face of this world 70 years prior.
All flying to mark that tragic event in hopes of remembering and moving forward with their prior enemy toward a greater future.
And the plane were to crash.
The world would stop. The world would mourn. One year later, we would all be talking about the event, with much deeper sadness and awe than we do the tragedy of September 11, 2001.
If you really knew me, you would know that I never expect a pity party. But that I do expect people to pay respect for any country's loss, especially on that caliber.
You would know that I expect myself to behave with respect toward a person's loss as well.
You would know that saying "but you don't live in Poland, you were basically raised in the US" will make me think very lowly of you.
You would know that I expect people to be humane toward one other, empathetic, sympathetic. And that sometimes, like today, I am disappointed...