There are few moments in our history as hopeful and proud as Poland’s Wedding to the Baltic Sea, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in a letter to the inhabitants of Puck, where the 102nd anniversary of the event was solemnly celebrated on Thursday, 10 February.
The celebrations began at the Old Market Square in Puck. The Mayor, Hanna Pruchniewska, welcomed the guests and residents.
– Your presence confirms our conviction that the event of 10 February 1920 was of exceptional importance for Kashubia, Pomerania and all of Poland. We have remembered the history of our city here for years. Therefore, it is important for us that together we celebrate successive anniversaries of Poland’s Wedding to the Sea, regained after 148 years of slavery – said the Mayor.
President of Liga Morska i Rzeczna (the Maritime and River League) Andrzej Królikowski emphasised in his speech that for the maritime economy to find its rightful place in the country, “it is necessary to convince that firm anchoring on the seashore constantly is the raison d’être of every nation”.
– This is one of the basic ideas of the event – education aimed at creating a deep conviction that the hackneyed slogan about the Sea that “feeds and enriches” will never lose its relevance – he pointed out.
Guests and locals also took part in the Holy Mass in the church in Puck. In his homily, the auxiliary Bishop of the Gdansk Archdiocese, Rev. Zbigniew Zielinski, recalled the history of Poland’s Wedding to the Sea and General Jozef Haller’s train journey to Puck.
– We recall this history so that it may play a new sound in each of us and result in a new strength to continue the great works begun by our ancestors – stressed the Bishop. – Each time, in this Poland that enjoys freedom, the challenge is to appreciate what we already have, not succumb to habit, and not take for granted what is never obvious. As St. John Paul II repeated many times, freedom is never given once and for all – added the Bishop.
The Bishop expressed the hope that all those gathered, representing various communities, were “concerned that what we have had for over 102 years should still be noticed, valued and loved by us. Through the Baltic Sea, as through wide-open eyes, we look at the world, and the world looks at us.
The main anniversary celebrations took place in the Port of Puck. Letters from Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Marshal of the Sejm Elżbieta Witek were read out by Pomeranian Deputy Governor Mariusz Łuczyk.
“There are few events in our history that bring such great hope and inspire pride as Poland’s Wedding to the Sea,” Morawiecki wrote. As he added, “this fragment of the coast, regained under the Treaty of Versailles, wonderfully completes regaining and integrating Polish lands after regaining independence.”.
“Today, on the 102nd anniversary of these events, we want to remember them and pay tribute to all those who took part in them and forged our sovereignty,” the Prime Minister stressed.
“An era of new life and splendour of the new golden age of the Zygmunt and Batory families is opening in front of you today when the Vistula and our sea will again connect Poland to the entire world,” – the PM quoted the words of General Józef Haller.
He also expressed his conviction that ceremonies such as Puck’s “build our community.” “They remind us the efforts of our ancestors in building an independent Poland and values that are important to us,” he noted.
In her letter, Elzbieta Witek, the Speaker of the Sejm also recalled the events of 10 February 1920. “General Józef Haller, throwing a platinum ring into the Sea, made a symbolic act of Poland’s wedding with the Sea. This exceptionally momentous event became the symbol of the reborn Republic of Poland and the centuries-long Polish presence on the Baltic.” – Witek wrote.
She also quoted General Haller’s words. “The nation needs the sea as a man needs his lungs.” These words “make us realise how important it is to build Maritime Poland with all our might. The symbolic wedding to the Sea has become the starting point for ongoing and fruitful work to use its enormous potential,”–she noted. “In Puck, the independent Homeland was connected to the Baltic Sea with a bond that lasts to this day and bears beautiful fruit.”
Senator Sławomir Rybicki read out a letter from Senate Speaker Tomasz Grodzki. “For me as a man who has been connected with the sea since birth, every anniversary of the Wedding of 1920 evokes emotion and reflection – may we always be able to appreciate and respect freedom,” wrote the Speaker. He also expressed the hope that “the young generation learning about history will create the future by drawing on its experience.
Pomeranian Marshall Mieczysław Struk said that the memory of the events of 1920 is “of great importance for the Pomeranian identity”.
– Through persistent organic work in the 19th and early 20th centuries, our ancestors resisted Germanisation and preserved the Polish spirit on the Baltic coast. After the First World War, they stood up to the entire world to join Poland’s reborn Republic. The prudent and consistent actions of the leaders of the independence movement in Pomerania contributed significantly to Poland gaining free access to the Sea. In that way, they opened a window on the world for the reborn state – stressed Pomeranian Marshall Mieczysław Struk.
At the end of the ceremony, a soldier roped down from the Naval Aviation Brigade helicopter and threw the wreath into the Bay of Puck.