150,000 bid farewell to Polish president

By JPOST.COM STAFF, ASSOCIATED PRESS
April 18, 2010 22:39

 
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150,000 Poles paid their last respects to Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his wife, Maria, as the couple were interred Sunday among kings, poets and statesmen in the ancient Wawel Cathedral in an ornate, traditional ceremony.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev flew by plane from Moscow for the funeral. His presence a further sign of the warming ties between the two countries occasioned by the tragedy.

The funeral Mass was held at St. Mary's Basilica. Inside, scores of Poland's political elite were seated in the ancient pews, shoulder to shoulder with leaders from Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus, and Armenia. Outside, 40 thousand crowded the market square.

After the Mass, the bodies of the first couple were carried atop a pair of artillery caissons pulled by army Humvees in a funeral procession across the Vistula River, led by the archbishop, priests and soldiers across the picturesque Renaissance old town and up the Wawel hill, historic seat of kings.

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