Lech Walesa in Chicago

By Mike Maddaloni on Saturday, July 11, 2009 at 03:14 PM with 0 comments

A few weeks ago I got the chance to see Lech Walesa in Chicago. He was here for the 20th anniversary of the fall of communism in Poland. As Chicago is said to have the largest Polish population outside of Chicago, it’s logical he would be here. The photo below shows him addressing the audience before the Freedom ’89 concert at Millennium Park.

photo of Lech Walesa in Chicago

(click on the photo above to see the full-size image)

For someone who grew up in the 80’s and was very aware of politics and the news, this was a big deal for me to see him, and I had my daughter in tow when I saw him. News of the Solidarity labor movement in Poland was big, as it was in line with other pressures to end communism. I also learned a lot about the labor movement from my advisor in college, who had emigrated from Poland to the US and at the time his family was still in Poland, and his stories were both fascinating and insightful.

Today, world events are just a tweet or Skype call away from first-hand accounts. Back before the Web and public use of the Internet, relying on the news and the rare personal account were how we learned about the world. Thus seeing Lech Walesa brought the news of the 80’s in Poland full-circle for me.

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