Scouts and Guides all over Poland are providing help during all the events in Warsaw to commemorate victims of the government plane crash in Smolensk (Russia) on Saturday, April 10th. All 96 passengers including Lech Kaczynski, President of Poland, his wife, many other political, religious, military officials and civil servants were killed on their way to a Katyn massacre memorial service. Among them there were our friends, Scouts, and the officials honoured with the title ‘Reliable Friend of Scouting’.
Scouting society reaction was immediate. First Scouts and Guides turned up to a duty at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw the very same day, immediately after the official announcement.
People were gathering there to pay tribute to all who tragically passed away. Since then Scouts and Guides have been fulfilling their duty to serve and help, almost 24 hours a day. They take care of thousands of candles and flowers which are being brought continuously by the people, distribute water and offer medical assistance. One very important part of the Scouts’ duty are the guards of honour and policing service – together with the police and the army – when the President’s body was driven to the presidential palace.
Participants of the events are proud and do not hide their admiration
for Polish Scouts and Guides
(there are four scout and guide associations in Poland and only the biggest – ZHP – is the member of WOSM and WAGGGS). If it were not for the Scouts, it would be difficult to organize this in such a short term.
The heads of all Scout and Guide associations signed the Polish Scout Organizations Letter to commemorate Lech Kaczynski,, Honorary Patron of Polish Scouting and Guiding since 22nd February 2008, and all plane crash victims. The ZHP Chief Guide issued a special order that requires all Scouts and Guides to observe a period of mourning for 30 days – to cover Scout Badges with mourning bands, pray for the victims and their families, and retain a memory of their action.
All passengers were flying to Katyn (Western Russia, Smolensk Region). They were due to attend a memorial service to the World War II massacre in Katyn, where the Soviet secret police in 1940 shot dead more than 20,000 Polish prisoners-of-war, drawn mainly from the political, military and cultural elite. National mourning celebrations, commemorating all who were killed will be held on Saturday, April 17th in Warsaw.
From the first hours after the tragic event Scout and Guide Associations and
individuals from all over the world have been offering to ZHP and people of Poland their condolences and prayers. We are grateful for all words of support and comfort from our friends.
The news service at zhp.pl is totally devoted to sharing information about current events, especially those engaging Scouts and Guides, ZHP leadership, as well as rememering the air crash victims who were members or supporters of the Scout Movement.
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Image 1: © Photo by: Pawel Lach