A great man is one who collects knowledge the way a bee collects honey and uses it to help people overcome the difficulties they endure - hunger, ignorance and disease!
- Nikola Tesla

Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.
- Franklin Roosevelt

While their territory has been devastated and their homes despoiled, the spirit of the Serbian people has not been broken.
- Woodrow Wilson

The Statement of President Woodrow Wilson in 1918

On July 28, 1918, President Woodrow Wilson gave the following message to the American people. It was read in churches throughout the country and published in virtually all major newspapers. The Serbian flag was raised over the White House and all public buildings in this nation's capital.

To the People of the United States:

On Sunday, 28th of this present month, will occur the fourth anniversary of the day when the gallant people of Serbia, rather than submit to the studied and ignoble exactions of a prearranged foe, were called upon by the war declaration of Austria-Hungry to defend their territory and their homes against an enemy bent on their destruction. Nobly did they respond (on 28th June 1914 Gavrilo Princip Bosnian Serb assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand during his visit to Sarajevo).

So valiantly and courageously did they oppose the forces of a country ten times greater in population and resources that it was only after they had thrice driven the Austrians back and Germany and Bulgaria had come to the aid of Austria that they were compelled to retreat over the Albania. While their territory has been devastated and their homes despoiled, the spirit of the Serbian people has not been broken. Though overwhelmed by superior forces, their love of freedom remains unabated. Brutal force has left unaffected their firm determination to sacrifice everything for liberty and independence.

It s fitting that the people of the United Slates, dedicated to the self-evident truth that is the right of the people of all nations, small as well as great, to live their own lives and choose their own Government, and remembering that the principles for which Serbia has so nobly fought and suffered are those for which the United States is fighting, should on the occasion of this anniversary manifest in an appropriate manner their war sympathy with this oppressed people who have so heroically resisted the aims of the Germanic nations to master the world. At the same time, we should not forget the kindred people of the Great Slavic race—the Poles, the Czechs and Jugo-Slavs, who, now dominated and oppressed by alien races yearn for independence and national unity.

This can be done in a mariner no more appropriate than in our churches. I, therefore, appeal to the people of the United States of all faiths arid creeds to assemble in their several places of worship on Sunday July 28, for the purpose of giving expression to their sympathy with this subjugated people and their oppressed and dominated kindred in other lands, and to invoke the blessings of Almighty God upon them and upon the cause to which they are pledged

Woodrow Wilson, President
The White House, July, 1918

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Bouquet of Serbian immigrants who blossomed in America

Commemorating the Serbian National Holiday (June 28 - Vidovdan or St. Vitus Day) and the 150th Anniversary of Nikola Tesla's birth, the Serbian American community presents this bouquet of Serbian immigrants who blossomed in America over the last two centuries, contributing to her efflorescence in all realms of human endeavor. During the 19th and 20th centuries, Serbs joined the waves of immigration to the New World in laying the very foundations upon which America continues to grow and prosper.

The earliest documented Serb in this country was George Fisher Shagich, who, after participating in the liberation of Serbia from the oppressive Islamic Ottoman yoke, immigrated to Philadelphia in 1813.

In addition to a large number of nameless pioneers who worked in various mines, on roads and railroads, transforming and gradually civilizing the wilderness of a relatively still empty continent, stand out the names of two globally famous Serbian American scientists: Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) and Michael Pupin (1854-1935), without whose great inventions and discoveries wide-spread electrification and long distance communication, along with the rest of our highly industrialized way of life, would be impossible.

Many Serbian Americans valiantly served in the U.S. military forces during two world, and later wars. For their gallantry and valor some of them received our country's highest military decoration - the Congressional Medal of Honor: Louis Cukela (awarded both the Navy and Army Medals of Honor), Mitchell Paige, Lance Sijan, and Mele "Mel" Vojvodich (the Legion of Merit). A few reached the highest ranks, such as Admiral Steve Mandarich (laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery).

In the educational field of the early second half of the 20th century it is sufficient to name professors Milorad Draskovich and Wayne Vucinich of Stanford University, Michael B. Petrovich of the University of Wisconsin, and Alex N. Dragnich of Vanderbilt University. In the political life of that time we find: State Senators Rose Ann Vuich (first woman elected to her State's Senate), George Zenovich and John Begovich of California; U.S. Congresswoman Helen Delich-Bentley; somewhat later U.S. Senator George Voinovich of Ohio, and most recently Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and Illinois' U.S. Representative Melissa Bean (Milica Luburic). In the field of entertainment we encounter the Oscar-winning actor Karl Malden (Mladen Sekulovich), Brad Dexter (Boris Milanovich), best known for his role as Harry Luck in The Magnificent Seven; film director Peter Bogdanovich as well as actresses Lollita Davidovich, Catherine Oxenberg and Milla Jovovich.

Fleeing from both Fascism and Communism, numerous highly skilled Serbian professionals quickly integrated into the triumphant US society, contributing greatly to America's overall growth and development. These included: the great poetdiplomat Jovan Duck; the Pulitzer Prize winners Charles Simic and Walt Bogdanich and the Oscar-winning screenwriter, playwright and novelist Steve Tesich.

Seven Serbian American scientists and engineers participated in the Apollo 11 Project: Slavoljub Vujic, Petar Gajic, Danilo Bojic, Milojko Vucelic, Milisav Surbatovic, Petar Galovic and David Vuich (director of public relations).

Among the leading Serbian American business people must be mentioned: Alex Macheskee (publisher of the Cleveland Plain Dealer), Milan Puskar (founder of generic pharmaceutical company Mylan Laboratories Inc.), Milan Mandaric (owner of the English soccer club Portsmouth), William G. Salatich (president of Gillette North America), Micheal Djordjevich (President of Bank of Southeast Europe International), and Desa T. Wakeman (former President, U. S. Lease Financing San Francisco).

Among popular American athletes are: Pete Maravich (Basketball Hall of Fame); Bill Vukovich (International Motorsports Hall of Fame) and 14 current NBA basketball stars, including Vlade Divac and Pedja Stojakovic.

Some of today's most important Serbian American researchers and educators, among hundreds of other outstanding scholars, are professors Dragoslav Siljak of SCU (contributor to the NASA Saturn V and Skylab projects), Petar Kokotovich of UCSB (winner of the prestigious IEEE education leadership medal), Dimitrije Djordjevic (history) of UCSB, Pasko Rakic (Yale University School of Medicine), Miodrag Radulovacki (College of Medicine, University of Illinois, Chicago), Branislav Vidic (Georgetown University Medical Center), Slobodan I. Macura (Mayo Clinic Medical College of Medicine), Dragan Svrakic (School of Medicine, Washington University), Radmila J. Gorup of Columbia University (linguistics and literary criticism), and Slobodan Curcic (Byzantine Studies, Princeton University). Attracted by America's religious and political freedoms and economic opportunities, the most recent Serbian immigrants, most of them proud graduates of the University of Belgrade, Serbia, fill the ranks of our Silicon Valley young computer scientists and engineers, as well as the fields of medicine, biology, electronics, social sciences and humanities.

Restricted in scope by the nature of the national gathering for which it was prepared, this commemorative booklet is significant because it provides valuable insight into the careers of a considerable number of notable American Serbs whose honorable contributions to this great country should not be overlooked.

George Vid Tomashevich, Ph.D.
Emeritus Professor of Anthropology
State University of New York, College of Buffalo

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People Directory

Father Philip Sredanovich

The Odd Adventures of an Early Serbian Priest

Fr. Philip Sredanovich is one of the strangest parish priests I’ve ever run across in my research of Orthodoxy in America.

He was born in Montenegro in 1881. He seems to have been educated and married in Russia (the 1920 U.S. Census says that his wife was born in Russia). Fr. Philip came to America just after the turn of the 20th century. In 1908, he made headlines nationwide for his supposed invention of a device to travel around the earth without moving. From the Washington Post (12/11/1908):

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Publishing

Christ - The Alpha and Omega

The Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Western America is pleased to announce the publication of an outstanding book by Bishop Athanasius Yevtich, a disciple of the great twentieth-century theologian Archimandrite Justin Popovich. Bishop Athanasius' thought combines adherence to the teachings of the Church Fathers with a vibrant faith and a profound experience of Christ in the Church.

Christ - The Alpha and Omega is the first of a planned collection of works of contemporary Serbian theologians. It is an anthology of Bishop Athanasius' articles which have appeared in Serbian, Greek, French, English and Russian. Focusing on themes central to Christian patristic Triadology, Ecclesiology and Anthropology, the book reveals the ultimate purpose of man and the universe, and speaks of how each of us can realize this purpose within the divine-human community of the Orthodox Church. Bishop Athanasius reminds us that the God-man Jesus Christ is the Beginning and the End of all things, and that we must seek our own end, goal, and fulfillment in Him.

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