Mr. Speaker, on November 11, 2010, Poles everywhere celebrated the 92nd anniversary of the independence of Poland.
Poland and its people are used to enduring hardship. In the 18th century, Poland was one of the largest and most powerful countries in Europe. However, Poland collapsed in 1795 and its territory was then partitioned. Thus, for 123 years, Poland was erased from the world maps.
However, the Polish people, language and culture persevered, and in 1918, the Second Polish Republic was created. However, Poland's suffering continued with its subsequent invasion by Nazi Germany in 1939, which led to the deaths of more than six million of its citizens.
Even with Poland's liberation from Nazi Germany, its suffering continued under communism until the efforts of Polish Pope the Venerable John Paul II and the Solidarity trade union eventually led to the collapse of communism not only in Poland, but in the Soviet Union itself and all of eastern Europe.
This resulted in the creation of the Third Republic of Poland, a free and democratic country, part of both NATO and the European Union.
As a proud first-generation Polish Canadian, I understand the significance of this celebration, and I wish to express my best wishes to Poles everywhere.