Military parade celebrates 100th anniversary of Czechoslovakia

Autor: Nuala Casey and Oldrich Holecek

On 28th October, personnel and equipment from all military branches of the Czech Armed Forces, as well as various services from the Czech Integrated Rescue System, marked 100 years since the foundation of the Czechoslovak Republic in what was the largest military parade in post-communist history.

In attendance was President of the Czech Republic Milos Zeman, President of the Slovak Republic Andrej Kiska, the Czech Prime Minister, Andrej Babis with his Slovak counterpart Prime Minister Peter Pellegrinni, the Czech Minister of Defence, Lubomir Metnar, the U.S. Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, and the Chief of the General Staff of Armed Forces of the Czech Republic Ales Opata. Also present were various members of the Czech government and parliament, high ranking military and police officers, and a number of other Czech and foreign guests of honour.

The celebrations began with the main event, ‘Czechs and Slovaks Century’ and ended with pilots from a Czech SAAB Gripen 39 and Czech helicopters performing a ceremonial flyover and painting the sky with the patriotic tri-colours of red, blue and white, common to both nations.

A total of 3,425 soldiers took part in the parade and, for the first time, included members of the Active Reserve. The Czech Integrated Rescue Service was represented by units of the Czech Police, Municipal Police, Firefighter Corps, Medical Rescue and Customs Services totalling 835 personnel. Units of the Prague Castle Guard and Honour Guard marched at the rear.

The crowds which were lining both sides of Prague's Evropska Street also had an opportunity to observe an array of contemporary military equipment and vehicles from various security and rescue services.

Joining the parade were invited military units from NATO’s allies, France, Great Britain, Italy, Slovakia and the United States who, by displaying their various flags, added another colourful dimension to the parade.

“Here on Evropska Street, the Czech military has presented itself as a self-confident force made up of soldiers who are highly trained and fully prepared to serve their country,” said Lieutenant General Jiri Baloun, responsible for the planning and organisation of the parade. He added that the Czech military is a reflection of its society and an instrument for the formation of state, and which, along with its Czech citizens had experienced many highs and lows over the past hundred years.

October 30, 2018