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SOLIDARITY: sparks of peaceful change and freedom

August 31, 1980, Gdansk, Poland. For the first time in the history of after Yalta Europe communist government signed and agreement with protesting workers. Unlike in 1956 in Budapest and Poznan, 1968 in Prague, 1970 in Gdansk and 1976 in Radom, this time a peaceful protest and strike in many areas of the country lead to unprecedented solution – free, independent trade union, not controlled by the communist authority. Soon, the union created in the shipyard developed into strong social movement – SOLIDARITY. Today, Poland celebrates 30th anniversary of this moment when the Spirit of the Lord “came down and renewed the face of the Earth, that soil” as Pope John Paul II said during his first visit to homeland in 1979.

The United States and the American people supported and backed up Poland in its struggles for freedom in those days when SOLIDARITY movement arose. Today, when Poland a free democracy and strong ally and partner remembers the outstanding historical event which brought change to so many people United States is present among Poles, too.

U.S. Ambassador to Poland Lee A. Feinstein have visited Gdansk and Gdynia on August 30 and 31 participating in events marking the 30th anniversary of the SOLIDARITY movement. On Monday he has given read a letter from President Barack Obama which said, “As we commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Solidarity movement we are reminded of the vision, sacrifice, and struggle of those courageous men and women who risked everything to stand up to oppression … The Solidarity Movement is a source of inspiration in the fight for liberty for all the world’s citizens.” He also gave remarks at Solidarity’s 30th anniversary gala and concert at the Gdynia Sports Stadium and met with European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek who was taking part in the celebrations. Read tle Letter of Barack Obama and other remarks and statements from US officials on the Anniversary

In the morning Tuesday, August 31 Ambassador Feinstein has met with Former President Lech Wałęsa, the legendary chairman of the Solidarity trade union. Later, at noon he attended Mass of Thanksgiving at the Three Crosses Monument, celebrated by Primate of Poland, Archbishop Jozef Kowalczyk. In the afternoon he met with local authorities from Gdansk Voivodship and Marshall of Provincial Assembly as well as with American and Polish labor activists and entertainers. In the evening the Ambassador was attending “Solidarity: Your Angel’s Name is Freedom” special concert and celebration at the Gdansk shipyard prepared by European Solidarity Center.

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