Poles grieve at Uptown church in Dallas

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by SHON GABLES / WFAA

wfaa.com

Posted on April 12, 2010 at 3:01 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 12 at 3:07 PM

DALLAS - The Polish government moved fast Sunday to fill critical jobs after the president and dozens of national leaders died in a plane crash.

President Lech Kaczynski's body was returned to Poland from Russia. His daughter and twin brother knelt before the coffin.

While the Polish prime minister wants elections within 14 days, new acting chiefs of the military and the central bank were named Sunday.   

Monday was declared a day of mourning in Russia, but the tragedy sent shock waves around the world, including in the Dallas Polish community.

Thousands of miles away from their native homeland, Polish immigrants gathered inside a crowded Uptown church  to weep.

"Everyone is very, very said," said Hania Huizennga, who attend the ceremony at Saint Peter the Apostle. "We're in pain. It's very painful to watch the news, talk to people. It's a very difficult time."

Saturday, Kaczynski, his wife and 94 elite military and political leaders perished in a plane crash while attempting to land in Russia.

"This is Poland's worst disaster since World War II," said Jan Sikora, who immigrated to Dallas over 40 years ago.

Sikora said he has never forgotten his roots.

"Well, you can't do too much about it, just pray for him, that's all," said Zygmunt Zawojska. "There's nothing left."

Services at Saint Peter the Apostle were held in Polish. Parishioners say it was a sign of respect, linking their Polish community to the Polish community worldwide.

"It is so sad," said Zofia Zawojska. "It doesn't matter what side of politics or on which side you are, we are united Polish people are united together today."

E-mail: sgables@wfaa.com

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