Czech soldiers and public pay homage to WW II fallen heroes

This week, throughout the Czech Republic, citizens and soldiers are celebrating the 73rd anniversary of the liberation of Czechoslovakia and Victory Day in Europe, and paying tribute to war heroes, American soldiers and the Red Army who advanced from the east and west to bring freedom to the country’s population after enduring five years of war.

Ceremony in Prague

The main memorial ceremony to mark the day when the victorious armies arrived was held at the Vitkov National Memorial in Prague on the 8th May. Other celebrations commemorating the end of WW II were also held at various Czech cities.

The Vitkov ceremony was attended by the President of the Czech Republic, Milos Zeman, the most senior representatives from the Ministry of Defence, the Czech Armed Forces and the country.

Minister of Defence Karla Slechtova handed out military awards to nine individuals who significantly contributed to the defence of the Czech Republic.

Generals appointed by the Czech President

As part of the Victory Day celebrations, President Zeman appointed two generals to higher ranks and two colonels to the rank of general as follows:

  • Brigadier General Jaromir Alan, Director of the Capability Planning Division, was appointed Major General.
  • Brigadier General Ivo Strecha, Director of the Force Development Division, was appointed Major General.
  • Colonel Miroslav Hlavac, Deputy Chief of the General Staff - Chief of Staff, was appointed Brigadier General.
  • Colonel Pavel Chovancik, Deputy Chief of the Military Police, was appointed Brigadier General.

The ceremony was held at Prague Castle, the seat of the Czech President.

Minister Slechtova at the Liberation Festival in Pilsen

Minister Slechtova, accompanied by the Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Major General Jaroslav Kocian, attended the Liberation Festival in Pilsen to mark the 73rd anniversary of the liberation of western Bohemia by units from the 3rd United States Army led by General George Patton.

Minister Slechtova laid a wreath at the Thank You America Memorial in Pilsen and paid tribute to seven native Pilseners who served with the British Royal Air Force and lost their lives in air battles during WW II.

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By Nuala Casey and Oldrich Holecek

May 11, 2018