I think the story about the plane crash in Russia that killed so many of Poland’s leaders is one of the most tragic national stories I have heard in my lifetime. This is not because of loss of life (although the death of 96 human beings obviously is significant in its own right) but because it seems like the fates are piling on the long-suffering Poles.
It is the great misfortune of the Poles that their country has been trapped between Germany and Russia and has been overrun, pulled asunder, and partitioned at various times during its history. Any student of 20th century history has read of, and been moved by, the valiant Polish cavalry charging German tanks during the first days of World War II, the brave resistance of the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto during Nazi occupation, and the Solidarity movement that helped to mobilize world opinion against the puppet state that governed Poland in the days of the Iron Curtain. It is, simply, horribly and cosmically unfair that the current leaders of the independent Polish state would die en masse as they were traveling to Russia to commemorate the 70th anniversary of one of the prior tragedies of the Polish state — the mass killing of thousands of officers and leaders of the Polish state by the Soviet Union at Katyn in 1940.
If history teaches one thing, it is that the Polish people are tremendously resilient. They will need that resilience now, as well as the support of freedom-loving people across the globe, as they deal with another overwhelming tragedy.