Top Leaders to Attend Kaczyński’s Funeral
April 14, 2010
After being identified by her brother thanks to a wedding ring with an inscription, nail polish and distinguishing marks, the body of First Lady Maria Kaczyńska arrived in Warsaw today. After a short ceremony at Warsaw’s Okęcie airport, her funeral procession followed the same path as it did just two days before, when her husband’s coffin flew in from Smoleńsk to a stunned nation. Despite it being a work day, thousands of people lined the streets, eager to welcome their First Lady back home. Tulips, daffodils, and roses showered the hearse as it made its way to the Presidential Palace.
Her coffin will lie in state day and night, beside that of her husband’s, allowing citizens to pay their last respects before Sunday’s funeral. “Together they lived here, together they set off on their last journey, and together they died. They should symbolically welcome people who come to pay tribute to them together as well,” said Jacek Stasin from the Presidential Chancellery.
In a press conference today, Kraków’s Cardinal Archbishop Stanisław Dziwisz announced that the Kaczyńskis will be laid to rest at Wawel Castle in Kraków– the main burial site of Polish monarchs since the 14th century. The state funeral will take place on Sunday, April 14, 2010 at Wawel’s 1,000-year-old cathedral. It is reported that the Kaczyńskis will share their crypt with Marshal Józef Piłsudski (1867-1935), considered by most Poles to be the greatest Polish statesman and who was largely responsible for Poland regaining its independence in 1918 after 123 years of partitions.
Sunday’s state funeral is to be attended by many of the world’s top leaders. Among them include:
- NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen
- President of European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek
- President of the United States of America, Barack Obama
- President of Russia, Dmitri Medvedev
- President of Germany, Horst Koehler and German Chancellor, Angela Merkel
- President of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaite
- President of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves
- President of Bulgaria, Georgi Parvanov and Bulgarian Foreign Affairs Minister, Nikolay Mladenov
- President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy
- President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus
- Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper