WARSAW, Poland – For many people, finding their roots and where they came from is a challenge. For this Soldier, growing up with the white eagle of Poland was a huge part of his life.
U.S. Army Capt. Sean Skelly, assigned to the 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, is a first-generation American whose maternal grandparents were Polish citizens displaced from their homeland.
Skelly’s grandparents were displaced from Poland during World War II, where his grandfather fought for the Polish Freedom Army and was involved in the Battle of Monte Cassino. The Soviet Union took his grandmother’s family to Siberia for the work camps.
“Both my grandmother and grandfather were always involved in all things to do with Poland,” said Skelly. “The Polish Veterans Association of America, the Women’s auxiliary, and so many more.”
Through their efforts, many officials in both the political and military spectrum in Poland have recognized them, he said.
Poland has always been a huge part of his life. He says that being able to finally visit the country and arrive on his grandfather’s birthday was the work of fate.
“Throughout my life, my grandparents were always being honored by high ranking Polish officials, to include the president. They have dedicated their time and life to bringing the story that is often not talked about, in regards to the Soviet occupation and work camps,” said Skelly. “I have always looked up to my grandparents, and I am very proud to know that their efforts are valued by individuals at places like the Polish Ministry of Defense.”
“In this day and age it is imperative to support our Allies,” he said. “Our nations support of the Polish government and people is more important than ever, and when talking to them, it is easy to understand how they feel about America and why they want more support in this country.”
“I am honored to call myself Polish, to have grown up seeing how important this country is to those who were displaced, and now witnessing how much pride each and every one of them have for their country. The white eagle truly flies and protects each and every one of you at home and abroad.”
Soldiers with Polish roots highlight our enduring and new connections with our partners, bringing our nations together, always ready to overcome any obstacle, meet any challenge head-on and bolster our interoperability by operating stronger together through our partnerships and alliances.