If you see a bunch of youngsters roaming about Evanston Monday while most of the rest of us are at work, they aren’t skipping school. They’re merely celebrating the holiday.
What holiday you ask?
Casimir Pulaski Day, which was designated as a state holiday in Illinois in 1977, thanks to political prodding by persons of Polish descent in Chicago, to commemorate the birth of Gen. Pulaski on March 6, 1745.
Pulaski came to America as a soldier of fortune to fight in the American Revolutionary War. He is believed to have saved the life of Gen. George Washington, who made him a general in the Continental Army.
Regarded as the father of the American cavalry, Pulaski died from wounds suffered at the Siege of Savannah in October of 1779.
When Pulaski Day was established in Illinois, all public schools in the state closed in honor of the general. Since then, the state has relented and leaves it up to individual school districts to decide whether or not to close their schools.
Evanston Township High School will be open Monday, but the Evanston/Skokie District 65 elementary and middle schools will be closed, causing a bit of anguish among working parents who normally would count on the older siblings that attend high school to babysit with their younger brothers and sisters.
Consequently, some parents will elect to take a vacation day Monday to care for their kids.
Evanston city offices will be open, however, and garbage will be collected as usual. The postoffice will be open as well, making the usual mail deliveries.
City of Chicago and Cook County government offices and courts will close, however, as will Chicago public schools. But Illinois state offices will be open. Go figure.
Photo: The 2-cent Gen. Pulaski stamp issued by the U.S. in 1931.