The city of Pilsen participated in the 80th anniversary of D-Day in France from 5 to 9 June 2024. This largest landing operation in military history, which began in Normandy on June 6, 1942, marked the beginning of the liberation of Western Europe from Nazism. Representatives of the West Bohemian metropolis honored the memory of all soldiers at Utah Beach, and in Arromanches Les Bains organized a ceremony for the new placement of a memorial plaque dedicated to the Czechoslovak Independent Armored Brigade.  President of the Czech Republic, Mr. Petr Pavel, paid visit to the camp of the Czech living history club Tommy & Yankee based in Trévieres. (Tommy and Yankee is Liberation Festival Pilsen partner who set up reenactment club on regular basis at the Pilsen May celebrations – liberation by the US Army).

“D-Day on Tuesday, June 6, 1944 was extremely important for our city. That’s when our liberators landed in Normandy. However, they had more than a year of difficult journey and fighting trhough Europe ahead of them. We honored their memory with gratitude,” said Lucie Kantorová, Pilsen’s Deputy Mayor for Education and Tourism, who represented Pilsen at the celebrations.

The celebration program was packed. While the main ceremony was held on Omaha Beach on Thursday, June 6, with the participation of the heads of state, representatives of the city of Pilsen, led by deputy Lucie Kantorová, presented Pilsen on Utah Beach, where another important commemorative act took place. It was attended by veterans of World War II, including representatives of the 90th Infantry Division, Eugene L. Kleindl and Carver McGriff. This division was the first to enter the territory of western Bohemia in the spring of 1945.

The Tommy & Yankee living history Club, which annually presents the life of soldiers of the 2nd Infantry Division of the US Army at Liberation Festival Pilsen, set up a camp in the town of Trévierès, which, like Pilsen, was liberated by the 2nd Infantry Division. On Thursday, June 6, the President of the Czech Republic, Petr Pavel, accompanied by the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to France, Michael Fleischmann, paid visit on his way to the  commemorative act at Omaha Beach. Other history clubs – the Club of historical and military vehicles (representing the Czechoslovak independent armored brigada) and Military Car Club Pilsen – attended the meeting with the Czech president. Together with Deputy Lucía Kantorová, the President toured the camp of the 2nd Infantry Division, met  representatives of all clubs and promised to participate in the Liberation Festival Pilsen in May 2025. The visit of the Czech head of state was also an exceptional event for the local town hall, which welcomed the Czech delegation with Czech flags . Symbolically, on the anniversary of D Day, the first (Trévierès) and the last (Pilsen) city in Europe  liberated by the 2nd Infantry Division were connected.

Touching moments awaited Pilsen’s representatives in Trévières a day later as well. Two American and one French veteran were came to the French city. Among them was Chester “Buck” Sloan, a very popular WWII veteran in the Czech Republic, who celebrated his 100th birthday on June 1. During the debate with the public, he reminded how important it is to keep talking about the war and to pass on one’s own experiences to the younger generation. Chester Sloan is eager to attend the Liberation Festival Pilsen , being a member of  the 2nd Infantry Division. Louis Stoel (45th Infantry Division) and Jean Turco, who turned 106 this year, also joined the debate. During a meeting with deputy Lucie Kantorová, Mireille Dufour, mayor of Trévières, expressed her interest in cooperating with Pilsen . Lucie Kantorová welcomed the offer of cooperation between the two cities liberated by the 2nd Infantry Division, commemorating this event with annual celebrations.

On June 7, 2024, the city of Pilsen was the initiator of the sole Czech ceremony being a part of the celebrations of the 80th anniversary of the landings. It took place in Arromanches Les Bains, wherePilsen unveiled a commemorative plaque dedicated to the Czechoslovak Independent Armored Brigade in 2019. The original landing museum has been completely reconstructed and today is one of the most modern in Normandy. The commemorative plaque was newly placed in its part called the Garden of pines. The Czech ceremony was attended by hundreds of visitors, including representatives of Pilsen military history clubs, the Czech Embassy in France and the government of the local town hall. The Landing Museum, like the city of Pilsen, is part of the international Liberation Route Europe foundation, which also held its 10th annual meeting here.

Representatives of the city attended the Liberation Route Europe event with friends from Bastogne War Museum, Musée de la Résistance de Limoges and others. Together, they will join forces in promoting their events in  2024 and 2025 years. “In Normandy, we distributed more than 2,000 leaflets with military history clubs with the aim of taking advantage of the concentration of tourists and inviting them to Pilsen to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the liberation of our city next year. We took away valuable experience and experiences useful for the preparation of the approaching round anniversary of liberation,” said Jana Komišová, head of the Marketing Department of the Municipality of Pilsen, on behalf of the Celebration of Freedom team.