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Kitsune Inferno

Polish President Dies in Plane Crash

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With a single swipe, the plane crash that killed Polish President Lech Kaczynski on Saturday gutted a nation's leadership and silenced some of the most potent human symbols of its tragic and tumultuous history.

It was, literally, a nation colliding with its past: They ran aground on a patch of earth that has symbolized the Soviet-era repressions that shaped much of the 20th century, near the remote Russian forest glade called Katyn where thousands of Polish prisoners of war were killed and dumped in unmarked graves by Soviet secret police in 1940.

The toll cut a swath through Poland's elite. Along with the president, the 97 dead included the army chief of staff, the head of the National Security Office, the national bank president, the deputy foreign minister, the deputy parliament speaker, the civil rights commissioner and members of parliament.

But also aboard the plane were war veterans and surviving family members of Poles killed by the Soviets. There was 90-year-old Ryszard Kaczorowski, Poland's last "president-in-exile" during the Soviet years. And Anna Walentynowicz, the shipyard worker whose dismissal sparked the Solidarity union protests that eventually led to the collapse of Polish communism.

And, of course, Kaczynski himself -- a former Warsaw mayor imprisoned in the 1980s for his opposition to communism...

Wow, just... wow. My only question is why the hell the pilot thought it was a good idea to try landing in the fog after being told to land somewhere safer.

Edited by Kitsune Inferno

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