From: Engineer Memoirs by Lieutenant Gen. Rowny

 Return of Paderewski’s Remains to Poland

 

In the fall of 1991 I resumed my efforts to see to it that the remains of Paderewski would be returned to Poland. I had worked out all the details to return Paderewski’s remains to Poland on June 29, 1991, the 50th anniversary of his death. However, in April 1991, on a state visit to the United States, President Lech Walesa threw a monkey wrench into the works. He told several reporters that Poland was not ready to receive Paderewski’s remains. He said that Poland would not be completely free until a new parliament was elected in the fall of 1991.  I had no choice but to scrap the elaborate arrangements and plan to return the remains in 1992. Since I was no longer in the government, the White House put Edward Derwinski, the secretary of Veterans Affaris, in charge of the arrangements.  It became immediately obvious that Derwinski and I had opposing views concerning the type of ceremony to be held in the United States prior to the return of the remains. I thought the ceremony should be a large one and held in the amphitheater at Arlington Cemetery. Derwinski thought the ceremony should be small, and held in the chapel. I felt there should be a maximum of publicity. Derwinski thought that the publicity should be held to a minimum. I thought that the pallbearers should be high ranking Polish-Americans, like Brzezinski, Senator Muskie, and Congressman Rostenkowski. Derwinski thought the pallbearers should be representatives of various Polish-American societies and veterans groups. I felt that Clarence Paderewski, the next of kin, should be offered a major role.  Derwinski thought he should be in the background.  Because Derwinski was in charge and since he excluded me from most of the planning, the ceremony was conducted according to his wishes. Held in the Arlington Chapel on June 27, 1992, the ceremony, although small, was a dignified affair at which Vice President Quayle spoke.  After the ceremony, the body was transported on a horse-drawn caisson to the main gate of the cemetery. Several thousand soldiers, airmen, and sailors lined the route. We flew to Shannon, Ireland, on Sunday, June 28th spent the night there,and flew to Warsaw the next morning. We arrived at 10 A.M. June 29, 1992, the 51st anniversary of Paderewski’s death. An official delegation of the Polish government met us and together we followed the casket in a motorcade to the Warsaw Castle, where the body lay in state for two days. Following that it was then taken to Poznan for two days and then returned to Warsaw.  On Sunday, July 5th, President Bush stopped off in Warsaw for a three-hour visit.  He and Lech Walesa attended a high mass at noon at the Warsaw Cathedral, after which the body was put into a side altar until the crypt in the cathedral would be completed. For a week after our arrival with the remains, there were a number of ceremonies in Warsaw and other cities honoring Paderewski.