Pilsen thinks of its veterans, sending them a symbolic gift and invitation to the live broadcasting

Great understanding was expressed by WWII veterans with the cancellation of the Liberation Festival Pilsen. Pilsen is sending them hand-sewn masks as a symbol of thanks and protection and invites them to watch the live broadcasting.

A great understanding and support was expressed by WWII American veterans, who liberated West Bohemia in May 1945 under the command of General Patton. After Pilsen had to cancel the forthcoming annual Liberation Festival due to the coronavirus pandemic, and regretfully reported this to veterans, the city received encouraging letters from America full of hope to try to come to celebrations in 2021. At the present, the United States is struggling with the infection as well. The City of Pilsen responds to the supportive words of veterans, thinks of them in difficult moments and, as a thank you for their understanding, it is sending them special packages with hand-sewn cloth masks made by the Pilsen seamstresses with regards. As a small consolation for the cancelled celebrations, the city has been also preparing an online broadcasting on Sunday, May 3, with interesting interviews, documentaries from previous years and live music performed by the Pilsner Jazz Band.

“This year’s festivities were meant to be an extraordinary thank you to those who liberated us 75 years ago, to the American and Belgian soldiers of the US Third Army. Instead, for the first time in 31 years, the Pilsen people will not meet the WWII veterans in person, as the global coronavirus pandemic will not allow us to do so. Nevertheless, we will celebrate an important anniversary. In the form of a silent memory, we will lay flowers at the memorials and offer online broadcasting to connect with our American friends remotely, ”said The Lord Mayor Martin Baxa.

The Lord Mayor Martin Baxa had also special Pilsen packages for US and Belgian war veterans prepared to thank them for their understanding and as way of support in the difficult times that America is now facing. “We want to show them that we are still thinking about them,” the mayor added. Many of the messages from the veterans and their relatives in America were touching.

Messages from US veterans and families

Grandson of General Patton – George Patton Waters
Good morning to all our friends in Pilsen. On behalf of the Patton´s family and all the Americans who travel to enjoy the Liberation Festival with you, we are deeply sorry we will not be there this year but we know you, like us, are protecting what you have and going to make it better for 2021. We all look forward to you and please stay healthy. And God bless you.

WWII US veteran Fremont Gruss with family
Thank you and all the great people of Pilsen for the love and respect delivered on all past visits. As disappointing as this cancellation is to all, we will look forward to reuniting with our friends in Pilsen for the 76th Liberation Festival, Same Time, Same Place, Next Year! During the interim, we send prayers for robust health and good spirits to you and your families.

WWII US  veteran Earl Ingram
I thank you for your message regarding the cancellation of the festival. Although I’m disappointed that I must wait another year for the possibility to see all of you, the decision was wise and expected. Hopefully, you and all of your family will escape the terrible virus and that there will be no more loss of life.
With warm regards to all of you,

Son of WWII US veteran – Rob Gilbert
I am so sorry that all your effort and planning has come to nought, but I do understand the problem you confront.
My sympathies, but perhaps next year.


Sonf of WWII US veteran James Duncan – Tom Duncan
This is sad news, but not unexpected. I hope that you and all of our Plzen friends stay safe and healthy. Leslie and I hope to visit later this year once the virus has passed.

The daughter of WWII US veteran Richard Pieper – Christina Bigelow
75+1!!!! Sure hope we can come, but uncertainty reigns with my father’s age. Take care all, follow the CDC’s recommendations. Be well.
Yours truly
, Christina Bigelow

Son of WWII US veteran – William Jannace
Prayers and best wishes for all.

Son of WWII US veteran – Peter Petracco
I wanted to celebrate my father and his follow soldiers on the 75th anniversary of the Pilsen liberation.  I also hoped to be able to walk in his and the 2nd Infantrymen footsteps at Male D’vorce just outside of Pilsen where troops were involved in skirmishes prior to liberating Pilsen.
Hopefully we can all join together for 75+1!

The daughter of WWII US veteran Charles R. Lemmons – Kathy Hoffman
We are so sorry for all of this and plan to return in 2021. Be careful.  Stay safe.
Mickey and Kathy Hoffman

We totally understand and clearly respect the decision.   It was the right thing to do. I actually canceled my hotel reservations yesterday as more and more travel restrictions were announced in the United States. I pray that we all stay healthy and get through this incredibly difficult time. Please allow me to close with this thought… It is said that the darkest hour of the night comes just before the dawn.
God bless you.

WWII Belgian veteran Louis Gihoul
Je suis désolé, très triste de ne pouvoir partager les festivités cette année avec nos amis Tchèques a Plzen. Nous ferons tout ce qui est possible pour être parmis vous l’année prochaine. Je vais, personnellement tout faire pour tenir jusqu’au mois de mai 2021! Ma sicère amitié à Mr la maire et à toute la ville de Plzen. I am sorry I will not be able to share the celebrations with our Czech friends in Pilsen. We will do everything possible to be among you next year. Personally, I will do everything I can do to attend in May 2021!
My sincere greetings to the Lord Mayor and the City of Pilsen!!!

Son of Belgian veteran Georges Rensonnet (former president of the Brotherhood of the 17th Rifle Battalion), Luc Rensonnet:
C’est avec tristesse mais combien compréhensible que les vétérans du 17ème Bataillon Belge et leurs familles ont appris l’annulation des festivités du 75ème anniversaire de la libération de votre ville. Nous comprenons que pour des raisons de santé et pour le bien-être de tous, il soit donner priorité au confinement. Chaque année depuis 1990, votre ville tient à  remercier avec fastes et honneur ceux qui ont accompagné le Général Patton, qu’ils soient américains ou belges et nous vous en sommes très reconnaissants. Ces jeunes militaires, bien souvent volontaires , se sont engagés avec audace et courage, mettant en jeu leur propre vie pour repousser l’ennemi. Aujourd’hui, c’est une autre guerre, celle du coronavirus contre laquelle nous nous battons. Et pour qu’elle se termine au plus vite, soyons comme nos vétérans, aussi volontaires et tenaces et respecter les consignes de nos dirigeants. Nous pensons beaucoup à vous et nous vous disons : à l’année prochaine pour de nouvelles retrouvailles. Amitiés à tous.


Dear Mr. Baxa, Dear Citizens of ´The City of Pilsen. For the veterans of the 17th Rifle Regiment and their families, it is sad, but understandable, that the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of your city was canceled. We understand that restrictions had to be imposed in respect of the health of all concerned. Every year since 1990, your city thanks and honors those who accompanied General Patton, being either Americans or Belgians. We are very grateful for that. These young soldiers, often volunteers, entered service, risking their lives with courage and bravery to drive out the enemy. Today we fight another war, the war against coronavirus. And to end this war as fast as possible, let us be, like our veterans, resolute, persistent, respecting government regulations. We think you and look forward to meeting you next year. Sincerely yours, Luc Rensonnet.