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For Our Freedom, and Yours

The 303 became the most successful RAF squadron during the Battle of Britain, achieving legendary status. Today, if you search "Spitfire Mk VB" in Google images, you will quickly see a machine with a red-white checkerboard, the Kosciuszko Squadron insignia, and Donald Duck (the Disney character was the call-sign of one the pilots, whose nose resembled a duck's bill). During the war, an historic moment took place when a by-then older MCC visited the 303 Squadron in Britain. It was not lost on him—nor the Poles, Brits, and even a handful of American pilots—that regardless of where the fight occurs, or when, the struggle for freedom is often universal. This united them all under the shared motto, "for our freedom and yours." Despite having fought in all European theaters, from Narvik to Tobruk, and having taken part in the operations OVERLORD and MARKET GARDEN, by the end of the war the Poles became a bargaining chip between Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin. Evidently Poland was not meant to be free and was instead thrown into another 50 years of brutal communist rule by the Soviets. Many Polish soldiers and airmen who returned home were imprisoned or executed. Those who knew the fate awaiting them back remained in exile for the rest of their days. To add insult to injury, when a victory parade was held in London, Polish soldiers were not invited in order not to enrage Stalin, for whom free Poland was history. Polish RAF pilots were eventually invited but declined, instead watched the parade from within the crowds. Poland finally earned a long-sought reprieve after the Iron Curtain fell in the late 1980s, some 40 years later. The Polish Air Force still flies former-Soviet aircraft, including the MiG-29, but maintains the tradition of the Kosciuszko Squadron insignia on the fuselage to this day. And since you, Jell-O, intentionally or not, posted the image of a plane displaying the crossed scythes behind a red, square hat in front of the American flag, I felt obliged to write this email. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, this one certainly is.
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