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Polish president's body returns to Warsaw
Published in The Egyptian Gazette on 11 - 04 - 2010

WARSAW, Poland - The body of President Lech Kaczynski was returned to Poland on Sunday, where it was greeted by grieving dignitaries and thousands of Poles lining the route from Warsaw's airport to the presidential palace.
The plane carrying Kaczynski's body arrived from the airport in Smolensk, Russia, where he and 95 others had been heading Saturday to honour 22,000 Polish officers slain by the Soviet secret police in 1940 in the western Soviet Union.
Kaczynski's twin brother, Jaroslaw, knelt on the ground and pressed his head against the flag-draped coffin before rising and crossing himself.
The coffin was escorted by 10 soldiers from the back of the plane as somber music played. Warsaw Archbishop Kazimierz Nycz was among seven priests and military chaplains who led prayers at the airport and sprinkled holy water on the coffin.
There was no sign of the twins' ailing mother Jadwiga, who has been hospitalized. The president had canceled several foreign trips lately to be by her side.
Also on the tarmac were Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Marta Kaczynska, the only child of the president and his wife, Maria, who also perished in the crash.
Thousands of people stood silent in the streets to mourn Kaczynski and the dozens of political, military and religious leaders killed in the plane crash that ravaged the top levels of Poland's elite.
Church bells pealed at noon and emergency sirens shrieked for nearly a minute before fading into silence. Hundreds bowed their heads, eyes closed, in front of the presidential palace. Buses and trams halted in the streets.


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