Poland’s top officials, President Andrzej Duda, Prime Minister Beata Szydło, politicians and thousands of people across the country took part in commemorations on the 6th anniversary of the Smolensk plane crash which were held on 10 April.
“I want to say this very emphatically: they all served Poland in the best possible sense, and they gave their lives in this service,” President Andrzej Duda said in his address in front the Presidential Palace in Warsaw. “They were people who represented us, represented our nation in the fullest sense of the word,” added the Polish President.
Holy Masses were celebrated at home and abroad for the 96 victims of the Tu-154M plane crash. Flowers were laid and candles lit at the sites devoted to the memory of those who perished on 10 April 2010.
Speakers of the Sejm and the Senate, Marek Kuchciński and Stanisław Karczewski, laid wreaths at the plaques placed in the Sejm to commemorate the tragically deceased parliamentarians, and the Speaker of the 3rd Sejm Maciej Płażyński. In Krakow, President Andrzej Duda prayed at Lech and Maria Kaczyński’s grave in the Wawel Cathedral crypt. A Memory Roll of Honour with all names of the victims and a prayer were read in front of the Presidential Palace. On Sunday evening, top state officials, including President Andrzej Duda, Prime Minister Beata Szydło, the Speakers of the Sejm and the Senate, and the government ministers, attended Holy Mass in Saint John’s Archcathedral in Warsaw. The service was celebrated by the Metropolitan of Warsaw, Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz.
Anniversary celebrations also took place at the Powazki Military Cemetery in Warsaw, where 28 victims of the crash had been laid to rest.
To mark the 6th anniversary of the Smolensk plane crash, plaques dedicated to President Kaczyński were unveiled in the courtyard of the Province of Mazovia Office and its conference room, which was also named after the late President. Another commemorative plaque was unveiled at the Ministry of National Defence headquarters in Warsaw.
On Sunday, a Polish delegation went to Smolensk to pay tribute to the victims of the Tu-154M crash. The families of the victims and Polish officials laid wreaths, followed by an ecumenical prayer. Minister Anna Maria Anders, head of the Polish delegation and PM Beata Szydło’s Plenipotentiary for International Dialogue, quoted from President Lech Kaczyński’s address which he had prepared for the event on 10 April 2010, saying: “One cannot build strong relations on a lie; a lie drives people and nations apart.” Moreover, a Holy Mass was celebrated at the cemetery of the Polish officers murdered in Katyn.
Among the 96 victims were longstanding and eminent members of the Foreign Service: Andrzej Kremer, MFA Undersecretary of State, Mariusz Handzlik, Undersecretary of State at the Polish President’s Chancellery, Stanisław Jerzy Komorowski, Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of National Defence, and Mariusz Kazana, Director of the Diplomatic Protocol.
The greatest tragedy in the history of post-WWII Poland occurred in the early hours of 10 April 2010. The plane crash claimed the lives of Poland’s President Lech Kaczyński, First Lady Maria Kaczyńska, the last President-in-exile Ryszard Kaczorowski, top state officials, commanders of the Armed Forces, members of the Katyn families, and crew members, who were on their way to attend celebrations to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Katyn Crime.