The anniversary of Czechoslovakia’s independence has always been an important day on the calendar for the Czech Republic and this year was no different.
On Monday, Czech politicians, military representatives, war veterans, and other dignitaries commemorated the 101st anniversary of the foundation of independent Czechoslovakia at the National Monument at Vítkov, Prague.
The celebrations culminated in the evening as President Miloš Zeman bestowed state awards at Prague Castle.
Czech leaders gather to celebrate
To celebrate the occasion, President Zeman, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, Senate President Jaroslav Kubera, and Chamber of Deputies President Radek Vondráček laid wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the National Monument at Vítkov.
“It is an honor, and I think it is great that the top political representatives gathered here as this is, of course, an important anniversary. We have to remember the people who made the sacrifices for the independence of our republic,” said Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.
Praise from allies
Presidents and kings of many countries, as well as Pope Francis, also congratulated the Czech Republic on the anniversary. US President Donald Trump also praised the Czech Republic’s international commitment to peace, human rights and prosperity.
In a letter, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier wrote about deep trust between the two countries. Similarly, French President Emmanuel Macron described the relationship between the two countries as close and confidential.
In the context of the Czech Presidency of the Visegrad Group as well as other European and international challenges, the Czech Republic is more important than ever before, added Macron.
King Felipe VI of Spain, Willem-Alexander of Netherlands, Philippe of Belgium, as well as Hungarian President János Áder also sent their congratulatory letters to President Zeman.
The day of celebrations culminated in the state awards ceremony at Prague Castle. Overall, 42 individuals received state awards from President Zeman. Some of the awardees included the last living RAF fighter pilot Emil Boček, former President Václav Klaus, and hockey player Jaromír Jágr.