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    Dream comes true for Polish soldier during military appreciation night

    Dream comes true for Polish soldier during military appreciation night

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Kimberly Calkins | Polish professional soccer players Jakub Wójcicki, with the Jagiellonia Białystok...... read more read more

    LUBIN, Poland – Loud chants roared through the Zagłębia Lubin soccer stadium as fans cheered for their favorite teams – the home team, KGHM Zagłębia Lubin and the visiting team, Jagiellonia Białystok during the first military appreciation night held at the stadium in Lubin, Poland, Aug. 12, 2018.

    Polish army Maj. Jakub Wołynski, the athletic director assigned to the 23rd Artillery Brigade, Polish Land Forces, had the inspiration for the Polish military to be recognized during a professional soccer game ever since he played for the Polish national team under the age of 15. Wołynski contacted Krzysztof Paluszek, the director of the Zagłębia Lubin soccer academy and his prior professor, with his ideas.

    “For many years, we have seen in meetings, briefings, and sports events how the U.S.A. recognizes their military,” said Wołynski. “I’ve always admired how during the professional U.S.A. leagues, the national anthem is played, the flag is rising, and veterans are presented on the middle of the field.”

    Wołynski not only wanted the Polish military recognized during the military appreciation night, but also the U.S. Soldiers serving in Poland.

    Soldiers assigned to the 23rd Artillery Brigade, Polish Land Forces celebrated the evening alongside U.S. Soldiers deployed in support of Atlantic Resolve 2018-2019: the 91st Engineer Battalion, 1st Armored Combat Brigade Team, 1st Calvary Division; and Company B, 151st Expeditionary Signal Battalion all stationed together in Boleslawiec, Poland, as part of week-long activities in honor of Polish Army Day.

    “It’s good to experience the Polish culture and this is an important opportunity,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Rogers, the commander of the 91st EN BN. “This may be the first time Soldiers have seen a professional soccer game, let alone one in Poland.”

    Prior to the game, Matteusz Dróżdż, the CEO of the Zagłębia Lubin soccer team, invited Rogers to meet two veterans of the 1939 Warsaw Uprising and meet executives with the KGHM Zagłębia Lubin soccer club.

    “In the future, we will have more events like this,” said Dróżdż. “I am glad the U.S. is here in Poland.”

    At the 39-minute mark of the game, signifying the invasion of Poland in 1939, the Zagłębia Lubin fan club and the stadium fans sang the Polish national anthem. Two Polish veterans of the Warsaw Uprising were also recognized for their service.

    “We can celebrate the Polish army and celebrate our profession,” said Wołynski. “Due to these veterans of the Uprising, we have freedom.”

    After the Polish national anthem, the U.S. Soldiers in attendance were recognized for their service and partnership with Polish Land Forces while an image of the U.S. flag was emblazoned on the jumbo screen and Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” vibrated throughout the stadium.

    “It is great for them to want to include us and how Maj. Wołynski was influenced by how we in America showcase our military in sporting events,” said Rogers. “It’s an honor to be here.”

    The Polish Land Forces have introduced their military traditions to the U.S. Soldiers throughout their deployment during Polish ceremonies, Polish Army Day and now with a visit to a Polish professional sports event.

    “Thanks to the CEO, who has one part of his heart in Poland and another in U.S.A., this event happened,” said Wołynski of Dróżdż. “Everyone had a contribution, I just gave the spark.”



    Date Taken: 08.12.2018
    Date Posted: 08.24.2018 06:13
    Story ID: 290119
    Location: LUBIN, PL 

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