Special Report: Polish President's Plane Crashes
Video >> Thousands of Poles join funeral for plane victims
|People attend a commemoration ceremony for late Polish President Lech Kaczynski and other plane crash victims held at the Pilsudski Square in Warsaw April 17, 2010. Hundreds of thousands of Poles gathered in Warsaw's main square Saturday to mourn the late President Lech Kaczynski, his wife Maria, and other victims killed in an April 10 plane crash. (Xinhua/Ma Shijun)
WARSAW, April 17 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of thousands of Poles gathered in Warsaw's main square Saturday to mourn the late President Lech Kaczynski, his wife Maria, and the 94 others killed in an April 10 plane crash.
The public ceremony in Pilsudski Square started at noon with the sounds of sirens and the tolling of church bells across the country. Scores of people waved white-and-red Polish flags with black ribbons of mourning attached to them.
A military bugler sounded a funeral air in front of the crowd thronging the square, named after the country's 1918 independence leader and used as the site for national services.
An actor read out the name of each victim, starting with the first couple.
Relatives of the crash victims, including the president's twin brother and former prime minister, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, and the presidential couple's only child, daughter Marta, attended the service.
"There are not that many moments in the history of a nation when we know and feel that we are truly together." Bronislaw Komorowski, the acting president and parliament speaker, told the massive crowd.
"We stand here in this historical place in Warsaw to say goodbye to all of those who perished as a result of the catastrophe in Smolensk," Komorowski said.
Maciej Lopinski, the head of the Presidential Chancellery, cited the late president's loyalty to Poland.
"Mr. President, on April 10, as always, serving Poland, you were on your way to Katyn to pay your respects to the victims of the genocide 70 years ago," Lopinski said.
Prime Minister Donald Tusk said that Poland has still not digested the plane crash that killed the presidential couple and many of the government's best and brightest.