Pilsen commemorated the 76th anniversary of its liberation by the American army. The four-day Liberation Festival, which began on Thursday May 6th and ended on Sunday May 9, offered a live broadcasting program from the studio in Měšťanská beseda via the Internet and regional television. A total of 15 hours of live broadcasting brought back memories of American and Belgian veterans, documents dedicated to liberation, interviews with historians, wreath laying ceremonies or live concerts. The online studio watched almost 50,000 people, tens of thousands more watched the program on Plzeň TV, and American and Belgian veterans were also interested. The broadcasting in English watched four thousand foreign viewers. This year, the outdoor program was limited due to pandemic restrictions, yet the Pilsen residents went to the exhibition of military equipment in large numbers. Fly pastof historic and contemporary US military aircraft was the highlight of the program on Sunday. The Army of the Czech Republic canceled the overflights of its aircraft due to the performance of other extraordinary tasks, it was represented by a rescue helicopter Sokol.
I’m very satisfied. Although the current situation did not allow us to celebrate the big festivities, to which we are all used to and which were visited by tens of thousands of visitors, we remembered the liberation of Pilsen with dignity. Personally, I am most pleased that we were able to talk directly to veterans thanks to the online connection. Their vitality is admirable. They promised to come next year if their health and situation allow. I wish that next year we would be able to offer festivities in the traditional shape, including a convoy of historic vehicles, wreath laying ceremonies with public participation and the opportunity to freely walk the streets and meet our liberators face to face, “said Mayor Martin Baxa.The online broadcasting also captured very strong moments from Czechoslovak history. Viewers could hear, for example, the authentic first words that Karel Šindler uttered on the air on May 5, 1945 at 12.05 pm, when he, a grammar school teacher and the leader of a resistance group, and his comrades-in-arms managed to occupy a German radio station after a dramatic fight. It was located in Obcizna at the confluence of the rivers Radbuza and Mže in Štruncovy sady.Thanks to the nice weather, Sunday’s air show was a great experience. During the hour, historic Pilatus aircraft and two Harvard aircraft flew over the heads of the people of Pilsen. The Army of the Czech Republic deployed a rescue helicopter Sokol, unfortunately due to the performance of extraordinary tasks Gripen fighters could not fly over Pilsen, the US Air Force was represented by a military four-engine turboprop transport aircraft C 130 Hercules. The fly past was moderated from the studio by the DAO of the US Embassy in the Czech Republic col. Sean Cantrell, Maj. Petr Šafařík, Chief of Dept. combat preparations of the 24th Air Transport Base of the Czech Armed Forces, historical flights were commented by Adolf Valášek.
The online studio welcomed a number of interesting guests, such as director Václav Marhoul, musician and director Ondřej Havelka, representatives of military history clubs, director of the Regional Military Headquarters in Pilsen, Colonel Milan Sklenář, and many others. In addition to interviews in the studio, there were also live streams from the city and other places, including Líně Airport, where the RAF camp was stationed.In the city center, people could see historic military equipment or a demonstration of the armament and equipment of the current US Army, presented by the JTF Raiders club. The model of the legendary Spitfire fighter and the only mobile Sherman M4 tank in the Czech Republic, the most famous American tank from the Second World War, enjoyed the greatest attention in the Republic Square. The 30-ton vehicle parked right in front of the entrance to Měšťanská beseda. In addition to the tank, a Diamond T981 tractor, a Ward LaFrance 1000 rescue crane, an Halftrack M16 and M3 armored reconnaissance vehicle, six jeeps, a Dodge WC52 truck, a Dodge WC 56 command truck and a Harley-Davidson motorcycle were on display in the orchard. Kombinovaný oddíl presented the vehicles used by the Czechoslovak Independent Armored Brigade.The drive-in theatre DEPO2015 visited almost two hundred spectators, Patton Memorial Pilsen Museum, opened in a restricted mode, even hundred visitors more.The entire online broadcast studio will be available on the city’s social networks, the Liberation Festival Pilsen and on YouTube, including the nine-part series In the Footsteps of Liberation with Lukáš Langmajer. Several parts of the project were supported by the Pilsen Region.source: www.plzen.eu