The laying of the wreath ceremony at the Thank you, America! on May 6, 2020 marked the end of this year´s 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Pilsen by the US Army.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, instead of the huge festivities, the City of Pilsen offered a seven-hour live broadcasting on May 3 having over 60 000 viewers until today. Even other traditional acts commemorating the fallen and victims of war in Pilsen took place. The number of attendees was strictly limited without the general public presence.
The commemorative act at the Thank you, America! is traditionally highlight of the festivities being attended by the US and Belgian veterans, representative of the Embassy of the United States of America to the Czech Republic, the Embassy of the Belgian kingdom to Czech Republic, hundreds of people are coming in. This year it the participation was limited – the City of Pilsen was represented by the Lord Mayor Martin Baxa, the Deputy Mayor Michal Vozobule and councilors Lucie Kantorová and Vlastimil Gola. The commemorative act was broadcast live on the City of Pilsen Facebook and Youtube and Facebook account of the Liberation Festival Pilsen to provide the ceremony even to the citizens of the city.
The Lord Mayor Martin Baxa regretted in his short speech the coronavirus pandemic had thwarted the plans for huge celebrations. However, he mentioned the act commemorating the heroes and victims of the WWI and WWII took place, and above all the seven-hour lasting online live broadcasting of the Liberation Festival Pilsen studio. In addition to thanking the war veterans, he promised the 2021 Liberation Festival Pilsen would be in the same scale as planned for this year and expressing hope the City of Pilsen would be honored to welcome the most distinguished guests who helped to restore freedom of the city – the US and Belgian veterans.
“Several times I ended my speech to the liberation of Pilsen by words, being written on this memorial – I hope forever – Thank you, America! Today I have got to add other words. Words wishing the United States of America to tackle the coronavirus pandemic successfully. I believe you are a strong country and you will be able to cope with this disaster in the end. Just like back then, we need you even today. In the name of the freedom, you are still a guarantee of”, delivered in his speech the Lord Mayor.
The flowers were laid by H.E. the Ambassador of USA to the Czech Republic Stephen B. King and H.E. the Ambassador of Belgium to the Czech Republic Gregoire Nicolas A. Cuvelier in the early evening of May 6. “I am looking forward to the next year, when the wonderful Liberation Festival Pilsen, commemorating the victims from 1945, will be arranged in its full scale. I would like to thank the City of Pilsen for the annual opportunity to honor the brave men and women, Americans, Belgians, other allies, who defeated the enemy on this soil given the democracy and freedom hope. The brought not only to this city but to the whole region. Unfortunately, it lasted 3 years only. The Czech Republic and Pilsen had to go through 45 years under the Soviet communist regime. The hope rose in 1989 and after 30 years later Pilsen and the Czech Republic are free living in democracy governed by people. Today we face other challenges, but never, I repeat never lose sight of what was the generation in 1945 fighting and dying. We cannot lose sight of the principles of democracy, security, human rights and rule of law. These are the principles worth fighting for”, conclude the Ambassador Stephen B. King speech.
“I would like to express gratitude to Pilsen to arrange this commemorative act even under these circumstances related to the covid-19 pandemic measures. Lest we forget the bravery of the soldiers who risked their lives in the fight against the barbaric and dictatorial regime 75 years ago. Many of them paying the ultimate sacrifice. Let’s keep their legacy for the generations to come. America, thank you for the campaign leading to the liberation of Pilsen in 1945, thank you Belgian veterans who fought alongside the Americans. Thank you, the citizens of Pilsen, for continually commemorating the deeds of these soldiers. Let us meet at the same place next year”, said the Ambassador Nicolas A. Cuvelier.