By Jeanne-Michele Vigna
The National Katyn Memorial in Baltimore's Harbor East has become an impromptu meeting spot for mourners of President Lech Kaczynski and his wife, who died in a plane crash along with 95 others, including several cabinet ministers and legislators, in a devastating plane crash early Saturday morning.
Mere hours after the crash—which occurred shockingly close to the site of the massacre marked by the memorial—a group of approximately fifty formally-dressed people gathered around the site, an event that kicked-off a week of nightly vigils there.
On hand that Saturday, were members of the Polish League of American Veterans Ladies Auxiliary outfitted in matching navy blue blazers. Senator Barbara Mikulski, among others, sported red clothing, while some simply held the Polish flag. A representative from the Polish embassy, donning an armband, began to explain the significance of Katyn in Polish. A member of the crowd shouted out that all Poles know the history, so it would be better if he just spoke in English. After a speech by Mikulski, the assembled sang the Polish national anthem and said prayers for Poland and victims of the crash. Flowers and wreaths were laid at the feet of the memorial and candles were lit.
After the ceremony, some mourners moved on to the Polish National Alliance Lounge for shots of the popular Polish honey liquor, Krupnik, in honor of the fallen President and others on the plane.