Following the success of our 16th Annual Kosciusko Conference in 2019, no one could have foreseen the coming disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020 in all phases of life.
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Finally, our return in 2022

USMA Kosciuszko Monument at Age 195

Its rapid spread prevented planning for staging a remote version of our Conference. As the death toll in the United States increased in numbers not seen since a century earlier, it became apparent that we would not be able to gather at West Point, or anywhere else for that matter during the following year. As such, whereas we had to cancel our 17th Annual Tadeusz Kosciuszko Conference scheduled for 2020, we had ample time to prepare for holding our 18th Annual Kosciuszko Conference remotely, on the basis of ZOOM internet technology. Forty-eight individuals went on to participate in it, with two of the presenters doing so from Paris, France.

What follows are a few of the photographs of our 19th Annual Tadeusz Koscuszko Conference that had occurred at West Point in the Thayer Hotel on April 22, 2022.

Truth be known, it had been a pure joy to behold the Eisenhower Room of the Thayer Hotel on the sun-filled morning of the Conference, arranged in the conference format by the Thayer's staff, in keeping with the preferences of the American Association of the Friends of Kosciuszko at West Point.

Ten speakers addressed the theme of the Conference which had been titled: "The Lands of Kosciuszko." Following completion of their presentations, our Association held its Annual Meeting on a members-only basis, as required by the Office of the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the state in which it had been incorporated in 2003. The key portion of that closing requirement of the meeting involved a review of the annual state of AAFKWP finances, that had been reported by Cynthia J. Bajdek, the Founding Secretary-Treasurer of the Association.  

Anthony J. Bajdek, AAFKWP President and Founder; Retired Associate Dean and Senior Lecturer in History, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts; in 2019, the first foreigner to be inducted into the venerable Kosciuszko Mound Committee (Komitet Kopca Kosciuszki) of Krakow, Poland, that was established in 1820, and in 2021, published author of the book, "When Victimization of Poland was Never in Doubt" by the Winged Hussar Press, and in 2019 authored the article, "The Patron Saint of West Point: Tadeusz Kosciuszko and His Academy Disciples," for the Polish Studies Journal of the University of Illinois Press.

Dean Bajdek spoke on the topic: "Eastern and Central Borderlands of Europe from the Perspective of My Maternal and Paternal Family Origins."

AAFKWP Founding Executive Vice President; and Lieutenant Colonel (retired), United States Army, Stephen N. Olejasz., moderated the Borderlands Panel portion of the Conference.

The involved panelists will be identified as such.

John C. Baskerville, Colonel, United States Army, Ph.D.,Professor and Chair Department of Modern Languages, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York, and distinguished author.

Dr. Baskerville spoke on the topic, "The European Union and NATO Borderlands with Russia."

Mieczyslaw B. Biskupski, Ph.D., Endowed Blewas Chair in Polish and Polish American Studies, Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, CT and distinguished author.

Dr. Biskupski spoke on the topic, "Tragedy as History: Poland and Ukraine." 

James S. Pula, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Purdue University, distinguished author and Kosciuszko biographer.

Dr. Pula spoke on the topic, "Kosciuszko, an Engineer in America."

Z. Anthony Kruszewski, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus in Political Science, University of Texas at El Paso, and distinguished author.

Dr. Kruszewski spoke on the topic, "My Adolescent and Teenage Years as a Polish Resistance Fighter Against Nazi German Occupation of Warsaw."

Beata Halicka, Professor, Department of Eastern European History, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland, and distinguished author.

Dr. Halicka spoke on the topic of her book, "Borderlands Biography: Z. Anthony Kruszewski in Wartime Europe and Postwar America."

Borderlands Panelist John Czop, Director for Policy Planning, Polish American National Office, Washington, DC..

Director Czop spoke on the topic, "Current Borderlands Crisis from the Perspective of Polish Americans."

Borderlands Panelist Robert A. Vitas, Ph.D., Chairman of the Board, Lithuanian Research and Studies Center. Chicago, and distinguisged author..

Dr. Vitas spoke on the topic, "Current Borderlands Crisis from the Perspective of Lithuanian Americans."

Borderlands Panelist Nicolai Makaranka, Member of the Free Belarus Coalition, an advocacy group for a democraric Belarus>

Coalition Member Makaranka spoke on the topic, "Current Borderlands Crisis from the Perspective of Belarusian Americans."

Memorializing Dr. Kruszewski's participation in the Conference.

Reflecting the diminishing number of Poland's freedom fighters in World War II.

Recognizing the engineer who engineered the AAFKWP's 18th Annual Tadeusz Kosciuszko Conference in 2021.

Christopher J. Bajdek, an AAFKWP Vice President, deserves full credit for a successful ZOOM-based endeavor that involved some 50 participants, two speakers of which participated from Paris, France. He is the son of Anthony J. Bajdek. 

The photograph of the April 23, 2022 Annual West Point Commemoration Ceremony at the Kosciuszko Monument. requires a fact-based, two-part comprehensive explanation.

For those who are familar with West Point's Kosciuszko Monument that was dedicated on July 4, 1828, the first part of the explanation of the photograph on the right, taken on April 23, 2022, is self-evident. That Monument of 1828 consisted of the base and fluted column designed by John H. B. Latrobe. The United States Military Academy Corps of Cadets paid for the cost of producing the base and fluted column via a voluntary monthly assessment of 25 cents from each Cadet. In 1913, the eight and a half foot high bronze statue of Kosciuszko was secured atop the fluted column. It was paid for by  the Polish "clergy and laity" of the United States. This AAFKWP website contains relatively considerable photographic and text reference documentation of the Kosciuszko Monument of West Point.

Given the fact that the Monument's base and column had been dedicated on July 4, 1828, it established the fact that the Kosciuszko Monument of West Point would become the world's second oldest national monument raised in honor of his memory. The world's oldest national monument raised to his memory is the Kosciuszko Mound (Kopiec Kosciuszki in Polish) of Krakow, Poland that was completed five years earlier in 1823. 

In 2021, during an annual inspection of all of West Point's monuments, the fluted column of the Academy's Kosciuszko Monument was found to have developed structural cracks. Accordingly, the statue was removed and placed in storage at West Point until a determination of the causes for the cracks in the fluted column can be finalized, and the column replaced. In the photograph associated with this  text, one can readily see that, whereas the base of the original Kosciuszko Monument remains, the column and statue have been removed.

The irony of the current situation of the Kosciuszko Monument follows upon a beautification process of the grounds surrounding its placement that occured over several prior years. All of which demonstrates the United States Military Academy's commitment to sustain honoring the "Patron Saint of West Point" in perpetuity.

The second part of the explanation of the photograph of April 23, 2023 must address the fact only a relatively small number (no more than 50) of non-United States Military Academy persons (i.e., ciivilians) had been able to participate in West Point's Annual Kosciuszko Monument Ceremony. In pre-Covid times, typically 200 to 300 or more civilians, mostly Polish American and Lithuanian American devotees of Kosciuszko, participated annually. With the spread of Covid-19 in 2020, there was no comparable Kosciuszko Monument Ceremony at all that year. The same was true in 2021. In 2022, West Point's Superintendent had another difficult decision concerning the Kosciuszko Monument Ceremony to make. Above all other ancillary aspects involved with addressing that decision, his first obligation was to protect the health of every member of West Point's Corps of Cadets, especially so for the graduating seniors, whose first posting as commissioned United States Army 2d Liuetenants typically had to replenish the vanancies caused by normal attrition (e.g., retirements) at higher commissioned levels of Army military service. 

The Superintendent, therefore, could best insure the health of his graduating seniors by limiting their exposure to non-family members of the general public, not all of which members of the general public have received Covid vaccinations.