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Great Seal Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Remarks At the Frigate Ceremony, The Pulaski
Gdansk, Poland, June 25, 2000
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
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SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Prime Minister and Mrs. Buzek, Minister of Defense Komorowski, Minister of Transport Wedzcik, Speaker Plazynski, Admiral Lukasik, distinguished members of the clergy and of the Sejm, Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you very much for inviting me to participate in this year's Days of the Sea festival. I am delighted to be here.

And I am grateful for the chance to take part in today's commissioning of a ship whose apt name and proud origins underscore the longstanding bonds of friendship between Poland and the United States.

This frigate began life in the U.S. fleet, and is now entering service in the Polish Navy.

Casimir Pulaski fought first for Polish freedom, then gave his life for America's. His name and sacrifice will be remembered for as long as liberty is loved and its champions honored.

Upon arriving in America, he wrote to General George Washington that his purpose was to go where freedom was being defended, "to serve it, and to live or die for it."

I have no doubt that the officers and crew of the vessel bearing Pulaski's proud name will serve with the same bravery and spirit, wherever and whenever that is required. For Poland's commitment to the principles of liberty has remained constant. As a new member of NATO, Poland has already proven its value, enriching alliance debates, contributing to its missions, adding to its strength.

There were those who suggested that NATO enlargement would cause new divisions in Europe. But we are erasing without replacing the line gouged across the continent by Stalin's bloody boot.

We are creating incentives for nations throughout the continent to settle old grievances, embrace democratic principles, and cooperate in building a Europe without walls, wholly at peace and fully free.

Poland is one of the authors of this new Europe, not only because of the historic campaign launched by Solidarity, but also because of your contributions in Bosnia and Kosovo, your success in forging friendly relations with your neighbors, and your support for a strong Europe and an unshatterable trans-Atlantic link.

Moreover, you are playing host this week to an unprecedented conference of foreign ministers and other representatives from more than 100 nations that have pledged to walk the democratic path. And to the World Forum on Democracy, a gathering of non-governmental experts on how to build and sustain the institutions of freedom.

Through past sacrifice and present actions, Poland has truly earned its place as a free nation within the heart of a new Europe.

I congratulate you for all you have accomplished. I look forward to what our two nations together may achieve.

And to the Captain and crew of the PULASKI, let me offer the traditional wish: "Stopy wody pod kilem." [Have deep water under the keel]. Dziekuje Panstwu, [Thank you] again for allowing me to participate with you in this proud ceremony today.

[End of Document]
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