VFW Supports Honorary Citizenship for American Revolution Hero

WASHINGTONThe Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. has endorsed legislation to bestow the honorary title of U.S. Citizen to a Revolutionary War hero who died of wounds sustained in battle in 1779.

In a letter dated March 4, 2008, to the chairman and ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, VFW National Commander George Lisicki relayed the VFW's strong support of H.J. Res. 39/S.J. Res. 5 to posthumously proclaim American Revolution hero Brig. Gen. Casimir Pulaski an honorary American citizen.

Lisicki said that the fact that the U.S. had bestowed this ceremonial honor on only six people – the first being another Revolutionary War hero, the Marquis de Lafayette in 1824, and the latest being Mother Theresa in 1996 – was testament to how rigid the qualifications are just to be considered. But he also said that to use precedent as the basis of reward would not render the proper respect to General Pulaski’s direct contributions to a young country when it needed his expertise the most. 

Pulaski was a Polish soldier, military commander and noted cavalryman who voluntarily fought under the command of George Washington from 1777 to Oct. 11, 1779, when he died of wounds received in the Battle of Savannah. He was one of Washington’s most trusted generals, and the only one who would become known as the "Father of the American Cavalry." 

Seven counties and a third of the 50 states have cities and towns bearing his name; he has a statue in Freedom Plaza three blocks from the White House; his bust resides in the U.S. Capitol; a Coast Guard cutter and a Navy ballistic missile submarine were commissioned in his name; and by Presidential Proclamation, Oct. 11 of every year is recognized as General Pulaski Memorial Day.

"One year ago this month," Lisicki wrote, "the Senate unanimously agreed to posthumously recognize Pulaski as an honorary U.S. citizen, but for whatever reason, that joint resolution remains stalled in the House of Representatives. On behalf of the 2.3 million members of the VFW and our Auxiliaries, I ask for your prompt attention to bring this legislation back to center stage and posthumously bestow the honorary title of American Citizen upon a true patriot."

Click here to read the national commander's letter.