Edward L. Rowny
Edward L. Rowny was born on Apnl 3, 1917. His father Gracyan Jan Rowny, born in Poland in 1895, came to the United States in 1912. His mother, Mary Ann Radziszewski, was born in the United States in 1898. Her father had served in the czar's army and her mother had been a governess. Her father and mother had come to the United States in 1860. Her oldest brother, AC Radziszewski designed and built a monument to Pulaski which stands in Baltimore, Maryland. Edward Rowny's maternal grandmother enthralled young Edward with stories about the Polish Generals Pulaski, the father of US calvary, and Kosciuczko, hero of the Battle of Saratoga and builder of West Point. She inspired him to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point. She was a devotee of Ignacy Jan Paderewski and extolled not only his musical talents but his great patriotism and statesmanship.
On June 29, 1941, Paderewski died in New York City and several days later Second Lieutenant Rowny attended his funeral. Paderewski willed that his heart remain in the United States. Rowny heard President Franklin D. Roosevelt state that Paderewski's remains would be interred temporarily at Arlington National Cemetery and promised that the remains would be returned to Poland when it again became free. Rowny's grandmother made him swear that he would help make this promise come true. Rowny fought in Africa and Italy during World War II from 1942-1945 and in the Korean Conflict from 1950-1952. In 1962, as a brigadier general, he introduced the first armed helicopters into Vietnam. Later that year, President John F. Kennedy ordered him to return briefly to the United States. The occasion was the dedication of a plaque at Paderewski' s burial site, which repeated President Roosevelt's promise to one day return Paderewski to Poland. In 1979, Rowny retired from the US Army with the rank of Lieutenant General. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan appointed him Chief US Strategic Arms Negotiator with the rank of ambassador. In 1985, President Reagan sent Ambassador Rowny to Warsaw with the message to General Jaruzelski and dissident Lech Welesa that he hoped one day to honor the pledges made by Presidents Roosevelt and Kennedy that Paderewski one day be returned to Poland. This pledge was fulfilled by President George H.W. Bush on June 29, 1992, on the fifty-first anniversary of Paderewski's death. Former Ambassador Rowny, who had left government service in 1990, planned and executed the return of Paderewski's remains. Since then, he has dedicated much of his time in retirement to promoting the legacy of Paderewski. This web site honors Paderewski's memory, stressing that he was devoted to promoting freedom and democracy through education and the arts. Rowny currently serves as Vice President of the American Polish Advisory Council (APAC) (www.apacouncil.org). Rowny is actively engaged in furthering APAC's three objectives: (1) advancing the legacy of Paderewski, (2) encouraging Polish Americans to get elected and serve in high US positions, and (3) enhancing US-Polish military, economic, and political relations.