Chairman Leslie H. Wexner
Board of Trustees
The Ohio State University
210 Bricker Hall, 190 North Oval Mall
Columbus, OH 43210-1358
Phone: (614) 292-6359
Dear Chairman Wexner and Trustees of Ohio State University:
As a son of Polish war heroes, I ask that you publicly admonish University President Gordon Gee for his unacceptable comment that your staff, "were shooting at each other ... like the Polish Army." In addition, the Board of Trustees must truly serve the 465,000 Polish-Americans living in Ohio by funding classes on Polish history at the University. With a President who lacks erudition, how can you expect to educate your students about World history, or Poland?
I can assure Mr. Gee that my father, Corp. Dionizy Storozynski was shooting straight as a motorcycle scout for a Polish tank division during the allied invasion of Normandy. Afterwards, he was awarded the Polish Army Medal, and three medals from the British Army. And I can assure Mr. Gee that my grandfather, Sgt. Wladyslaw Krzyzanowski was shooting straight when his Polish regiment, the Anders' Army, helped drive the Germans from North Africa, and when he destroyed two German tanks in the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy. For this he received three Polish medals and three British medals. And I can assure Mr. Gee that the Polish WWII pilots that set records in accuracy in destroying German Luftwaffe planes during the Battle for Britain were shooting straight.
It's Mr. Gee who is not a straight shooter. Gee has made a half-hearted apology. That is not enough. Gee has a history of putting his feet in his mouth and having to apologize. Yet the Ohio State Board of Trustees has made him the highest paid college president in the United States, paying him $1.6 million annually.
As Trustees, you are the governing body for a state university in a state that has nearly half a million Polish-American taxpayers and voters. Yet you offer few classes in Polish language and literature, and no classes in Polish history. With your university receiving $493 million in state appropriations and $426 million in other government funding in 2012, surely you can afford to rectify this situation. This should be put on the agenda for your next Board of Trustees meeting on Feb 9.
After Mr. Gee made his unenlightened comment, he said, "Who did I embarrass now?" For starters, Mr. Gee embarrassed himself and Ohio State University. This is also an embarrassment to United States foreign policy.
With thousands of Polish soldiers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, Gee's comments have caused a stir in Poland. And the Polish soldiers supporting the American mission in Afghanistan will not be pleased with Mr. Gee's benighted opinion. Poland's Special Forces unit shut down oilrigs in the Persian Gulf during the invasion of Iraq, and the Polish Army played a major role in the war.
When I traveled to Iraq in 2006 to write an article for The New York Sun, U.S. Army lieutenant general, Peter Chiarelli, told me that the Polish troops "are doing an absolutely outstanding job. They've been one of the most steadfast members of the coalition. And these are two of the most peaceful provinces in all of Iraq, Diwaniyah and Wasit. And that's largely attributable to the great leadership of successive Polish generals who have come down here and the Polish units who have served here."
The Polish Army has made major contributions to European and American history. King Jan Sobieski turned back the Ottoman Empire during the Siege of Vienna in 1863 when the Turks invaded Europe and tried to turn it into a Muslim colony. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was the largest country in Europe at the time and Sobieski's Hussar Knights were the most feared soldiers in Europe.
The President of a major university should also know the military contributions of Poles to this country. The Father of the American Cavalry, Gen. Casimir Pulaski saved George Washington's life at the Battle of Brandywine. Gen. Thaddeus Kosciuszko built the largest fortress in America, West Point and suggested putting a military academy there. That was before he devised the plans for the Battle of Saratoga, the turning point of the American Revolution. And Abraham Lincoln appointed Wlodzimierz Krzyzanowski Brigadier General in the Union Army during the Civil War. Would Abe Lincoln have picked a Polish general if he could not shoot straight?
Mr. Gee further exposed his ignorance about Poland when after his witless comments about the Polish Army he told the crowd at the Columbus Metropolitan Club, "Oh, never mind, who did I embarrass now? I'll have to raise money for Poland now."
If Mr. Gee read The Wall Street Journal he would know that despite Europe's financial woes, over the past several years, Poland has had one of the fastest growing economies in Europe. So no, Poland does not need Mr. Gee to help it raise money. But he can help himself by curing his foot-in-mouth disease and working to rehabilitate his image with the many Polish-Americans in your state.
Here's where he can start. Thaddeus Kosciuszko was given 500 acres on the Scioto River in Ohio by the Founding Fathers for his exemplary service in the American Revolution. That original tract of land borders the Ohio State University campus in Columbus. Today, part of that land is the Riverside Park Drive Park in Dublin, Ohio, and in May the city will rename it Thaddeus Kosciuszko Park. In addition to his military service, Kosciuszko put his money where his mouth was when it came to standing up for liberty. Kosciuszko donated his salary from the American Revolution, $17,000 and asked that it be used to purchase slaves, and to free and educate them.
Kosciuszko was a virtuous straight shooter who did the right thing. If Mr. Gee is as much of a straight shooter as Polish soldiers, and has any semblance of decency, he should pay to erect a statue of Kosciuszko in that park. With a salary of $1.6 million per year, Mr. Gee can clearly afford it.
President & Executive Director
The Kosciuszko Foundation
15 East 65th Street
New York, NY 10065
Note: You can use the addresses above to send your own message to Gordon Gee and Ohio State.
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