Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff
Polish immigrants and Polish-Americans around Boston reacted with grief and shock today over the deaths of their president and dozens of political and military leaders.
In restaurants and delis along Dorchester Avenue in South Boston, the nexus of the city's small but tight-knit Polish community, people struggled to express their grief.
"We lost too many important people," said Julia Plebaniak, who works behind the meat counter at the Baltic European Deli. "I can't find the words."
She said customers have been commiserating with her all morning, with some crying over the news.
Nearby, at Our Lady of Czestochowa, nearly 200 people gathered at the Roman Catholic church for an impromptu prayer service. Children brought red and white tulips, representing the color of the Polish flag, to the service and laid them near a picture of the Polish president. The country's flag was quickly hung outside the simple white church. A black ribbon dangled from the pole.
"This is the greatest tragedy I can recall," said the Rev. Andrzej Urbaniak, pastor of the Church, which has about 700 parishioners, most of whom are Polish. "I just can't believe it. My heart is so much filled with sorrow."
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