The Liberation Festival Pilsen 2024 starts with Republic Square opening ceremony attended by relatives of US and Belgian veterans.

A group of approximately 30 family members, descendants of American and Belgian veterans who participated in the liberation of Pilsen and Western Bohemia, sets sail to the Liberation Festival Pilsen. They participate in the military-historical and cultural program and run with the Memory of the Nation – for all those who did not give up. The main program of the festival is accompanied by many interesting events. The Elektrárna brewery, as last year, is preparing a special batch of Veteran beer.

Relatives of Veterans – “We Come to Honor the Memory”

“We come to honor the memory of my dad and those who served. It’s a great experience for us every time,” said Kathleen Lemmons Hoffman, daughter of Charles R. Lemmons, a member of the US 16th Armored Division. “Everything that you see here in Pilsen is, in my opinion, a message for the young generation. It’s important to never forget,” she added. Other descendants, sons, daughters, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren also come to Pilsen with a similar intention. “Like their fathers and grandfathers, American and Belgian liberators, they will be an integral part of the program we prepared for this year. We officially welcome them at the opening ceremony on Friday, May 3 at Republic Square,” said the Mayor of Pilsen Roman Zarzycký, adding that family members of war veterans participate in commemorative meetings at the memorials, Convoy of Liberty, the National Remembrance Run, (next to five and ten a kilometer run), a family run of one kilometer, or a debate with high school youth, which will be recorded and broadcast on May 8 at 6 p.m. on Czech Radio Plzeň under the title Stories of Heroes.

Opening Ceremony

The welcoming of family members of American and Belgian veterans will be preceded by a high-energy, community spirited performance by the U.S. student marching band Stuttgart Legacy Drumline, and thirty cadets from the U.S. military garrisons in Ansbach and Vilseck, Germany with the drill team presentation “I am very happy that, thanks to the cooperation with the US Embassy, it was possible to enrich this year’s program with the performance of young American students. Their involvement in the opening ceremony will bring an unconventional spectacle to all viewers. Connecting history and the present is a trend that we want to support in the Liberation Festival Pilsen program in the future,” said First Deputy Mayor Pavel Bosák.
Space will be given to military history clubs, without them the festival would not have the appropriate atmosphere. At Republic square, accompanied by the Pilsner Jazz Band, they will present not only part of the WWII US period military equipment, but also that of WWII Czechoslovak and modern American army. The festive evening culminates with a concert by the Jazz Without Borders Big Band with a big musical star from Los Angeles, the famous singer Chuck Wansley.

Holy Mass for veterans, exhibition and Yom Hashoah

Military camps, commemorative acts, the legendary Convoy of Liberty or musical performances on three stages are part of the other program. In the Cathedral of St. Bartholomew, a Holy Mass for war veterans takes place on Saturday, May 4 from 9 a.m., and two interesting exhibitions will certainly attract the attention of visitors. The outdoor exhibition entitled Unforgettable Pilsen 1945 reminda you through unique images of the most important historical moments of the “forty-fifth” year. Chronologically processed photos, including the original labels on the photo album sheets, from an unknown author, were acquired by the exhibition curator Ivan Rollinger in the Pilsen antiquarian shop of Václav Beneš exactly twenty years ago. An exhibition prepared by the Czechoslovak legionary community is displayed at Masshaus of the city hall. It is focused on one of the forgotten chapters in the history of Czechoslovakia, the nurses of the Czechoslovak Red Cross in Great Britain between 1939 and 1945. Yom Hashoah, the public reading of the names of the Holocaust victims, will also be part of the Freedom Celebrations this year. It will be held on Monday, May 6 from 2 p.m. in Smetanovy sady. On May 3-5, Líně Airport offers the Pilsen Cup 2024, parachuting competitions in landing accuracy, a part of the Czech Parachuting Cup.  On Saturday, May 4, the doors of Hangar No. 3, the aviation museum and educational center are opened for public. It is a long-term initiative of the Classic Trainers association.

A special batch of beer

A special batch of beer with the distinctive name Veteran is being prepared by the Pilsen experimental brewery under the Elektrárna brand. Visitors will be able to taste the unfiltered 10° special Indian Pale Lager (IPL) at selected stands. A half-liter can of beer will also be available for purchase. “As part of the American-Czech friendship, we joined forces with the Three Taverns brewery, which is based in the city of Atlanta and organizes a number of events to celebrate the end of World War II. We would like if everyone who drinks Veterán pays respect and drinks to those who paved the way to freedom,” said Eva Karbanová from the marketing of Pilsenský Prazdroj. The ceremonial presentation of the beer is scheduled for May 3 after the opening ceremony at Republic Square.

The highlight of the Liberation Festival Pilsen at Thank, you America!’ monument

The main commemorative event of the Liberation Festival Pilsen, at the Thank, you America! monument, is scheduled for Monday, May 6, at 6 p.m.