“For Polish people, the end of the First World War also marks the beginning of an independent Poland, following 123 years of their country being split between multiple empires.

“Polish people have been contributing to Alberta’s economy and communities for more than 100 years. They are our friends and neighbours, and I encourage Albertans to join me in celebrating their country’s independence.

“Although Poland made Nov. 11 its official Independence Day in 1937, it was unable to celebrate from 1939 until 1989, as the country was occupied first by Nazi Germany and then by the former Soviet Union. Today is a day when we all remember the consequences of war and oppression, and thank those who have fought for freedom. Polish Independence Day is part of this tradition as an occasion for celebrating a free Poland while recognizing the sacrifices involved in achieving this independence.

“On this day, whether we are celebrating our country’s freedom or remembering those who were killed while fighting to preserve our freedoms, we must not take our liberty for granted. Let us continue to protect our free and diverse society by working together to make Alberta a welcoming and inclusive place for everyone.”