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April 11, 2010
Poles express grief over loss of their leaders
WARSAW, Poland (AP) -- Poland's government moved swiftly to show that it was staying on course after the deaths of its president and dozens of political, military and religious leaders, even as tens of thousands of Poles expressed their grief over the plane crash in Russia that shocked the country.
It was a rare positive note on a day wracked by grief for the 96 dead and laced with reminders of Poland's dark history with its powerful neighbor. The Saturday crash occurred in thick fog near the Katyn forest, where Josef Stalin's secret police in 1940 systematically executed thousands of Polish military officers in the western Soviet Union. President Lech Kaczynski and those aboard the aging Soviet-built plane had been headed there to honor 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 Sunday to the presidential palace after it was returned from Russia's Smolensk airport, the site of the crash. (29 images)

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A Polish couple mourns in front of the presidential palace in the early hours on April 11, in Warsaw following the Polish government Tupolev Tu-154 aircraft crash near Smolensk airport. A plane carrying Polish president Lech Kaczynski and dozens of other senior officials crashed while landing in fog in the western Russian city of Smolensk on April 10, killing all on board. Smolensk regional governor Sergei Antufiev said the plane with at least 96 people on board clipped treetops as it approached an airport outside Smolensk, crashed and broke up in flames. AFP / Joe Klamar


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A Christian cross and candles are seen on Pilsudski square, as people gather to pay their respects to those killed aboard the Polish presidential plane that crashed Saturday in Smolensk, Russia, central Warsaw, Poland Sunday, April 11. Polish President Lech Kaczynski, his wife and some of the country's highest military and civilian leaders died on Saturday when the presidential plane crashed as it came in for a landing in thick fog in western Russia, killing 96. AP / Petr David Josek



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Volunteers adjusts candles in front of the Presidential Palace the day after Polish President Lech Kaczynski died in a plane crash, Warsaw, Poland, Sunday, April 11. AP / Petr David Josek



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Hundreds of thousands of Polish people bring candles and flowers in front of the presidential palace in Warsaw on April 11, as they pay tribute to victims of the air-crash in which President Lech Kaczynski was killed the day before. Russian investigators said they were working closely with their Polish counterparts to determine the cause of the plane crash that killed Poland's president Lech Kaczynski. AFP / Joe Klamar



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People place candles and lay flowers in front of the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, Poland, Saturday, April 10, as news broke out about Polish President's Lech Kaczynski death. AP / Czarek Sokolowski



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A volunteer carries flowers as she kneels between candles placed by mourners in front of the Presidential Palace, the day after Polish President Lech Kaczynski died in a plane crash, Warsaw, Poland, Sunday, April 11. AP / Markus Schreiber



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Mourners hold candles for the victims of the Polish presidential plane crash on Saturday in Smolensk, Russia, in front of the Presidential palace in Warsaw, Sunday, April 11. AP / Markus Schreiber



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A woman lights a candle during a special service for the victims of the plane crash in Smolensk in a Catholic Cathedral in Moscow, Sunday, April 11. AP / Alexander Zemlianichenko



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A man attaches a mourning ribbon to the Polish flag during the medal ceremony for Polish gold medalist Arsen Kasabijew at the 89th Men and 23rd Women European Senior Weightlifting Championships in Minsk on April 10. AFP / Alexey Gromov



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Artist Kiki Garber, left, obscured, gets help carrying her painting of Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his wife Maria as she heads home after displaying it at a Mass at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, Sunday April 11, in the Greenpoint neighborhood in the Brooklyn borough of New York. The mass was dedicated to Kaczynski, his wife, and all those who perished in the plane crash in Russia. Flowers, candles and other items left in memory of the plane crash victims are seen in from of a statue by the church. AP / Tina Fineberg



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Russian honor guards carry the coffin of Polish President Lech Kaczynski during a farewell ceremony at the Smolensk airport, western Russia, Sunday, April 11. AP / Sergey Ponomarev



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Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (R) and Polish ambassador to Russia Jerzy Bahr stand next to the coffin of Polish President Lech Kaczynski during farewell ceremony at the airport of Smolensk on April 11. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin flew back Sunday to the site of Polish president Lech Kaczynski's jet crash for a service to commemorate the victims. The body of Polish President Lech Kaczynski was on Sunday put on a plane to be sent to Warsaw, in the presence of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, an AFP correspondent reported. AFP / Alexey Nikolsky



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Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the twin brother of Polish President Lech Kaczynski prays by the coffin of his brother at Warsaw's airport on April 11. Poles were in deep mourning on April 11 after President Lech Kaczynski, his wife Maria and many of the country's ruling elite were killed in a plane crash on April 10. AFP / Joe Klamar



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Marta Kaczynska, (C), daughter of Polish President Lech Kaczynski cries, as she stands with Jaroslaw Kaczynski, (R), twin brother of the late President, react as they pay hommage to the coffin of Kaczynski after its arrival in Warsaw on April 11, the day after a plane carrying Kaczynski and many of the country's military and state elite crashed in thick fog in Russia killing all 96 people on board in a blazing inferno. AFP / Joe Klamar



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People looking at the hearse carring the coffin of president Lech Kaczynski driving through Warsaw on April 11, the day after a plane carrying Kaczynski and many of the country's military and state elite crashed in thick fog in Russia killing all 96 people on board in a blazing inferno. Poland faces a period of national trauma after the shock deaths of its president and many top officials, but the NATO and EU member's long-term stability is not at risk, analysts say. AFP / Grzegorz Jakubowski



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A nun listens as the names of the dead are read during a memorial mass at Holy Trinity Church held to honor Polish President Lech Kaczynski and the 96 others killed when their plane crashed yesterday in Western Russia April 11, in Chicago, Illinois. Getty Images North America / Scott Olson



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A lady carries flowers and a candle as she stands, along with others, in front of the presidential palace in Warsaw on April 11, the day after Polish President Lech Kaczynski died in a plane crash. AFP / Janek Skarzynski



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A woman lighted by a sunbeam attends a Holy Mass in memory of Poland's President Lech Kaczynski, Orthodox Archbishop Miron Chodakowski and other officials who were killed in a plane crash Saturday, at a church in the Bulgarian capital Sofia, Sunday, April 11. AP / Petar Petrov



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A Catholic nun watches a special service for the victims of the plane crash in Smolensk in a Catholic Cathedral in Bucharest, Sunday, April 11. AP / Vadim Ghirda



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Volunteers carry candles in front of the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, Poland, Sunday, April 11, after Polish President Lech Kaczynski died in a plane crash. AP / Petr David Josek



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A Polish child prays outside the Polish Church in Athens on April 11, after a special mass to commemorate the Polish President Lech Kaczynski. AFP / Louisa Gouliamaki



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A mourner holds a bunch of tulips among others in front of the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, Poland, Saturday, April 10, as news broke out about Polish President's Lech Kaczynski death. AP / Czarek Sokolowski



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Staff of the Presidential Palace, background, hold a prayer in Warsaw, Poland, Saturday, April 10, as news broke out about Polish President's Lech Kaczynski death. AP / Czarek Sokolowski



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Flowers and a photo of late Polish President Lech Kaczynski placed by people on the fence of the Polish Embassy in Moscow, Sunday, April 11. AP / Misha Japaridze



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Dorota Ciszewski, foreground second from right, and her daughter Victoria Ciszewski, 6, foreground right, from the Queens borough of New York, show there respect for Polish President Lech Kaczynski, his wife Maria, and all of those who perished in the plane crash in Russia as they kneel amongst flowers, candles, pictures and other objects left outside the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland Sunday, April 11, in New York. AP / Tina Fineberg



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A young boy signs a condolence book for Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his wife Maria, at the Polish Embassy in Washington, Sunday, April 11. AP / Jose Luis Magana



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This image from Polish Television's TVP via APTN shows a firefighter walking near some of the wreckage at the crash site where Polish President Lech Kaczynski, his wife and some of the country's most prominent military and civilian leaders died Saturday April 10, along with dozens of others when the presidential plane crashed as it came in for a landing in thick fog in near Smolensk in western Russia. TVP via APTN



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Russian police officers walk near some of the wreckage at the plane crash site near Smolensk, western Russia, Saturday, April 10. AP / Sergey Ponomarev



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Polish Ian Grushinski grieves by a piece of the wreckage at a plane crash site near Smolensk, western Russia, Sunday, April 11. Polish President Lech Kaczynski, his wife and some of the country's most prominent military and civilian leaders died Saturday, April 10, along with dozens of others when the presidential plane crashed as it came in for a landing in thick fog near Smolensk. AP / Mikhail Metzel



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