I am writing this to commemmorate and honor the brave men and women (some of them still only boys and girls) - those fallen and those that lived to tell the tale - that participated in the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. Those 63 days were possibly some of the bloodiest days of Polish history - 200,000 people perished - and also, perhaps ironically, some of the most heroic and proudest days of Polish history. As the Soviet Red Army was literally on the banks of the Wisla River, they encouraged the Poles of Warsaw to rise up against the Nazis. On August 1st, 1944, at 5pm, the uprising began. Within the first week or so, the AK (Armia Krajowa - Home Army) led the resistance fighters to seizing much of the city, including some important strategic points. The Poles were expecting the Soviets to come in and set in motion the final phase of the rebellion - the liberation of the city. However, the Soviet armies didn't come. Instead, they watched as the German armies came in and began to slaughter the resistance fighters and civilians. The resistance did not know that a year earlier, the British and American leaders agreed to let Stalin have Poland. Also, in a sinister ploy, Stalin himself gave the order for the troops NOT to assist the AK. In fact, he only authorized one airlift on one day by the Western Allies, and Soviet anti-air guns as well as German anti-air guns shot down any other Allied planes. If and when the Germans slaughtered the AK, the path would be paved for the left-wing faction resistance, the AL (Armia Ludowa - People's Army), which was filled with communists and Soviet-sympathizers, to take over a pre-war Poland as a Stalinist puppet regime. The uprising was doomed as the resistance pleaded for the Western and Soviet Allies to help, with no effect. They were quickly becoming outnumbered by German troops sent to crush their rising. But the resistance fought on, and lasted for 63 days, until they could fight no more. Obviously, the uprising failed. The Germans "evacuated" the surviving citizens of Warsaw and leveled the city. In other cities, such as Krakow, they took measures to prevent a repetition - they arrested many young people, as it had been the youth of Warsaw and the AK that orchestrated the 63-day-long bid for liberation. For years afterwards, the communist regime in Poland suppressed any ex-AK members and suppressed any memory of the Warsaw Uprising. Because of that, this long heroic battle was eclipsed by the equally-valiant and brave Warsaw Ghetto Uprising staged by the ZOB (Zydowska Organizacja Zbojownicza - Jewish Fighting Organization) - the last remnant of the Jewish population in the Ghetto in 1943, which lasted only a month less than the Polish rebellion in 1944. Many people in the West and even in Poland itself either never knew about it, didn't care, or - especially in Poland - COULDN'T remember it or they'd be arrested. Today, people would say that the uprising was doomed right from the start, that the Soviets woulnd't help. But back then, it was the Soviets that encouraged the rebellion and promised liberation. Whether it was doomed from the start or not, it did happen, and it held out for 2 months - longer than even the participants expected, especially after they received no help. It was a struggle to regain independence and freedom. And for a while - at least the first week or so - it succeeded and liberty was restored. Even if that flame of freedom and hope was snuffed out by the Germans, it was rekindled for at least a few days. Did it succeed or fail? On the one hand, it failed. 200,000 people lost their lives, Warsaw - and the rest of Poland - was ruined, and the Poles were puppets for another half-century. But on the other hand, it succeeded. It was proof that the Poles would not just completely give up even after several years of occupation. It was proof that if liberty was taken, if paradise was lost, so to speak, that the Poles would fight to restore it, even if for at least a short while. It was this spirit and longing for liberty that eventually gave way to the nonviolent protest group Solidarnosc (Solidarity) that defeated the dictatorship and restored democracy in Poland - a government it had not had since 1926 when Pilsudski established his military dictatorship. Most of all, it sustained Polish patriotism and national pride, and kept the desire for independence and freedom alive. So, on behalf of myself and my fellow Poles - on CFC, in USA, Poland, and anywhere else in the world - I'd like to say thank you to the participants of the Uprising - whether fallen in the struggle, fallen after the war, or still alive: Thank you.