(CBS) — It was a sea of red and white — the colors of the Polish flag — as about 10,000 people lined an abbreviated parade route up Columbus Drive, between Balbo and Jackson, for this year’s 126th annual Polish Constitution Day parade.
Gov. Bruce Rauner wore a bright red tie; potential Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker wore a maroon sweater.
Both hailed the Poles as integral to America’s struggle for independence and growth. Both also marched up front, and handlers worked hard to keep one out of the other’s camera shot.
Parade queen Julia Szumny is the daughter of Polish immigrants, is fully bilingual and is on course to become the first college graduate in her family.
Born in Chicago, she now lives in the suburbs.
“This is a childhood dream of mine,” she tells WBBM’s Bob Roberts.
This year’s grand marshal was Cook County Judge Diann Marsalek.