Liberation Festival Pilsen culminated at the "Thank You, America!" monument

19. May 2022 14:21, Mgr. Milada Soukupová

On Friday, 6 May 2022, the traditional act of remembrance at the “Thank You, America!” monument was held in the presence of the President of the Pilsen Region Rudolf Špoták and Vice Presidents Petr Vanka and Pavel Čížek.

This commemoration, which traditionally culminates the celebration of the liberation of Pilsen, marks the 77th anniversary of the liberation of the city by the U. S. Army. In addition to a number of domestic and foreign guests and hundreds of spectators, it was attended by five veterans from the USA and Belgium who were directly involved in the liberation of the city.

“It is exactly 77 years since the most terrible war on the European continent was ended. Until this year, three generations born in Europe could be happy that they had not known war. Unfortunately,  our generation is affected by what has been triggered by Russian aggression against Ukraine. It is all the more urgent to recall the history, and the related context, of the power aspiration to control territory, to exterminate peoples and to suppress their sovereignty and their interests in realising their own idea of the world order, of their future. Of the free decision where we want to belong and where we want to go,” said Rudolf Špoták during the commemoration.

Even today, he said, we must be proactive, especially for the sake of our future, and we must confront the evil that has been unleashed in ways we could not have imagined. The images of destroyed, devastated Ukrainian towns, schools, hospitals, infrastructure, millions of destroyed families, young children – all this not far from the borders of our country – demand it.

“Let us therefore value the alliance with our partners and not question where we belong. The direction is clear. Let us remember that freedom and democracy are not granted forever without our contribution,” Špoták concluded.

The monument to the liberation of Pilsen by the U. S. Army has a long history dating back to the period just after the war. The current monument was unveiled on May 6, 1995. It is a collective work; the author of the circular plaque with a low relief of Europe, on which the main directions of the advance of the U. S. Army units are marked with their designations, is František Bálek. The two granite pylons with inscriptions were designed by architect Jan Soukup.

Commemorative acts were held in the Pilsen Region with the participation of representatives of the regional leadership in a number of towns and villages throughout the first week of May:

The commemorative act in Šťáhlavy took place on 30 April 2022 in the presence of Vice President for Transport Pavel Čížek 

Libor Picka, Pilsen Region Councillor for Culture, Landmark Preservation and Tourism (third from right), gave thanks and honoured the 77th anniversary of the liberation of the village of Díly by the American army on Sunday 1 May 2022 in the area near the local chapel

Petr Vanka, Vice President of the Pilsen Region for Regional Development, IT and European Affairs, attended a commemorative act in honour of the fallen Czechoslovak airmen from Pilsen-Doubravka on 4 May and laid flowers at the memorial plaque 

On Thursday, May 5, 2022, the President of the Pilsen Region Rudolf Špoták and Vice President Pavel Čížek honoured the memory of the liberators by laying flowers at the Memorial of the American 2nd Infantry Division on Chodské Square in Pilsen 

On 5 May 2022, Vice President for Healthcare Pavel Hais laid flowers at the memorial to fallen American soldiers and the Cross of Reconciliation at Zhůří

The 77th anniversary of the liberation of Plané u Marianských Lázní was commemorated by Vice President for Social Affairs Martin Záhoř at a commemorative ceremony on 5 May 2022 at Liberty Square

Vice President for Regional Development, IT and European Affairs Petr Vanka laid flowers on 5 May 2022 to commemorate the fallen American airmen at Dubeč near Nepomuk

Pavel Hais, Vice President for Healthcare, honoured the memory of the liberators in Klatovyb on 5 May 2022 

Vladimír Kroc, the Pilsen Regional Councillor for Education and Sport, honoured the memory of the victims of World War II by laying flowers in Rokycany on 6 May 2022

More photos from the commemorative act at the monument “Thank You, America!” can be found in the photo gallery.