The Pulaski Day photo op that will be as crowded as this month’s ballot

On most Pulaski Days, you will find at least one U.S. senator, several Congressmen, the governor and numerous lesser figures in attendance. But turnout is very different in an election year.

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Mayor Daley, Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka and Sen. Barack Obama were among the politicians in attendance during the annual Pulaski Day celebration at the Polish Museum of America on March 6, 2006.

Jean Lachat/Sun-Times

For many if not most Chicagoans, Pulaski Day is that quirky bonus Illinois holiday that nobody else gets: an opportunity perhaps to take the kids for a three-day weekend getaway to the Dells without having to fight the crowds unleashed on a real holiday. 

Not so for our political leaders, who in a fitting payback for this blatant sop to Polish-American voters, must stick close to home.

That’s because no current or aspiring officeholder dare miss the command appearance at the annual Pulaski Day celebration at the Polish Museum of America, 984 N. Milwaukee Avenue.

Gov. Pat Quinn speaks during a Pulaski Day Celebration Monday, March 2, 2009, at the Polish Museum of America in Chicago.

Gov. Pat Quinn speaks during a Pulaski Day Celebration Monday, March 2, 2009, at the Polish Museum of America in Chicago.

AP

On most Pulaski Days, you will find at least one U.S. senator, several Congressmen, the governor, the mayor, the county board president and numerous lesser figures seated on the stage of the museum’s Great Hall.

Looming behind them is Stanislaw Batowski’s huge painting of the man of the hour himself, General Casimir Pulaski, leading the fateful—and fatal—cavalry charge in Savannah, Ga., that ended for him with a cannon blast.

Every politician who is accorded their turn at the microphone — and that’s usually quite a large number of them — will salute the bravery of the Revolutionary War hero, express their “solidarity” with the Polish people and acknowledge the many contributions of Polish Americans here in “our great city [or state].”

With this being an election year, attendance should be especially good.

This year’s event is scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bonus points are awarded the politicians who can stay through the entire program.

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Gov. Rod Blagojevich applauds after the Blessing of the Wreath at the Polish Museum of America’s annual Pulaski Day Celebration March 7, 2005.

Rich Hein/Sun-Times

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