Local Polish community members were still reeling from the news of the death of the country’s president as they mourned at memorial services held all day yesterday.
Hundreds of Calgarians attended several masses at the Our Lady Queen of Peace Roman Catholic Church. They shared their sadness over the deaths of President Lech Kaczynski and dozens of political, military and religious leaders in a plane crash in Russia Saturday.
“This is such a catastrophic event full of sadness and it’s hard to make sense of it all. It’s so ironic and sad,” Anna Niemczewski said as she filed into the church to pay her respects with her husband.
“This is a loss for not just the people of the country but the world. Losing their leaders like that, it’s tragic. This is a sad day,” her husband, Voytek, said.
Many paid their respects in mass and wrote into a remembrance book while Poland’s government moved swiftly yesterday to show that it was staying on course after the deaths.
New acting chiefs of the military were already in place and an interim director of the central bank was named yesterday, with work running as usual, said Pawel Gras, a government spokesman.
Kaczynski and those aboard the aging Soviet-built plane had been headed there to honour the dead. A preliminary analysis showed the plane had been working fine, a Russian investigator said.
Tens of thousands of Poles softly sang the national anthem and tossed flowers at the hearse carrying the 60-year-old Kaczynski’s body yesterday to the presidential palace after it was returned from Russia’s Smolensk airport, the site of the crash.
with files from the canadian press