CONGRESS SPEECH

President Lech Wałęsa

Lech Wałęsa

Lech Wałęsa (1943-) was hired in the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk as an electrician in 1967. On August 31, 1980 Lech Wałęsa signed the Gdańsk Agreement – the Victory of Solidarity. From December 13, 1981 to November 1982 he was imprisoned. In November 1989 he became the third foreign person in history, after Marquis de Lafayette and Winston Churchill, to address a joint session of the United States Congress.

The ethical splendor of Solidarity is realized in the Word of Life: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul,Solidarność and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and [you shall love] your neighbor as yourself. Do this, and you will live” (cf. Lk 10:27-28).

We the People!

With these words I wish to begin my address. I do not need to remind anyone here where these words come from. And I do not need to explain that I, an electrician from Gdańsk, am also entitled to invoke them. We the People! I stand before you as the third foreign non-head-ofstate invited to address the joint Houses of Congress of the United States. The Congress, which for many people in the world, oppressed and stripped of their rights, is a beacon of freedom and a bulwark of human rights.

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