On July 7, a perfect summer Saturday, the U.S. Embassy Warsaw, American Center Warsaw and Dom Spotkan z Historia (History Meeting House, DSH) jointly organized a public event in downtown Warsaw, celebrating both July 4th and the centennial of Poland regaining its independence. The picnic took place in the historic center of Warsaw and attracted over 8,000 people who enjoyed an authentic American block party! The attractions included American music by singer Nick Sinkcler, an American from New Jersey who has lived in Poland for over 11 years. Picnic attendees also heard a variety of speakers: there were stories from Americans living their American Dream in Poland, travel journalist Hanna Jewsiewicka spoke about budget travelling to the U.S., and Karol Wójcicki talked about the upcoming anniversary of the first man on the Moon. Also on offer were real American block party foods and American sports including football and a softball batting cage. Our interactive innovation area included robotics and 3D printing as well as virtual reality tours. EducationUSA advisors provided information about studying in the United States and scholarships, and other representatives informed attendees about the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) and Summer Work & Travel exchange programs. The U.S. Army’s Civil Affairs Team and the U.S. Embassy Marine Security Guard Detachment interacted with Warsaw residents who tried out their equipment and participated in Marine fitness challenges.
Ambassador Jones, who appeared with Mayor of Warsaw Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz at the event, was quoted as saying, “It is fitting we are here today next to the Bristol hotel, where Ignacy Paderewski held meetings of the new Polish government 100 years ago.” Ambassador Jones also referenced Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Herbert Hoover, who worked closely with Paderewski, and how those relationships led to the beginning of the United States’ friendship and support for Poland regaining its independence. Ambassador Jones spoke about the importance of the Polish Declarations of Admiration and Friendship for the United States, connecting the July 4, 1926 presentation of the Declarations to this year’s public U.S. Independence Day event and he also highlighted recent efforts by U.S. Embassy diplomats to visit 100 cities and towns in Poland in an effort to strengthen the Polish-American friendship, which he noted dates back to the days when Polish generals Tadeusz Kosciuszko and Kazimierz Pułaski helped America gain its independence. Ambassador Jones and Mayor Gronkiewicz-Waltz also joined together to cut the birthday cake, which was shared with attendees.