Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček handed out Medal of Merit awards
to 14 people who assisted the Czech Republic’s entry to NATO 20 years
Among the laureates was the former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright, who was a leading voice in advocating for expansion of the military alliance to central Europe, former NATO secretary general Javier Solana and his successor in the post George Robertson, officials who headed NATO at the time of the country’s admission and during its first years in the alliance.
On the home scene, the awards went to the former foreign ministers Jaroslav Šedivý, Jan Kavan and Karel Schwarzenberg, former defence ministers Vladimír Vetchý, Alexandr Vondra and Luboš Dobrovský as well as former army chiefs of staff Jiří Nekvasil and Jiří Šedivý.
Among the recipients of the state awards handed out by President Miloš Zeman on October 28, was Karel Lánský – a legend of Czech Radio broadcasting. For eight dramatic days after the Soviet led-invasion of Czechoslovakia Lánský and his team kept independent Czechoslovak Radio on the airwaves, broadcasting from secret locations in Prague and running the operation from his flat close to the radio’s Vinohrady headquarters.
The Czech Republic capped of celebrations of the 100th anniversary of Czechoslovakia’s founding on Sunday with display of fireworks – and firepower – after a weekend packed full of parades, memorial acts and speeches, and concerts, as well as a dazzling video mapping on the façade of the newly re-opened National Museum atop Prague’s iconic Wenceslas Square.
Exactly 100 years ago, on October 28th 1918, the new sovereign state of Czechoslovakia declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire the Czech lands and Slovakia had been part of for centuries. Two weeks before the Armistice of Compiègne on November 11th which ended all fighting in WW1, the news of the new-born state spread from Prague to gradually reach Czech soldiers scattered around the world. In today’s programme dedicated to the centenary of the birth of Czechoslovakia we quote from the journals, memoirs and correspondence of Czech
Sunday’s celebrations of 100 years of Czechoslovak independence will also bear witness to the traditional state decorations ceremony at Prague Castle, which President Miloš Zeman will bestow on selected members of the public. This year’s recipients include universally respected personalities such as the two-time Olympic gold medallist, Ester Ledecká, retired tennis player Radek Štěpánek, or head of the anti-Nazi resistance movement, Josef Bílý, but also controversial figures including businessman Pavol Krúpa and singer Michal David.
Celebrations marking the centenary of the birth of Czechoslovakia on October 28, 1918 are taking place not only in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, but also among Czech and Slovak communities the world over. From London to Chicago, Czechs and Slovaks are highlighting an event in their common history that put them on the road to independence.
Countless events will take place around the Czech Republic next weekend marking the anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia on October 28, 1918. In Prague the centenary celebrations will include the official reopening of the main National Museum building after major renovations. However, that is just one of many things that locals and visitors can look forward to, organiser Vladimír Bláha told me.
Celebrations of the centenary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia are due
to culminate next weekend. Prague will see concerts, exhibitions, a
military display, a parade and fireworks, while events are also planned for
elsewhere in the country. The actual anniversary falls on Sunday.
The coordinator of celebrations in the capital, Robin Čumpelík, told Czech Television that there will zones with events taking place on both days at Prague’s Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square, Náměstí Republiky, Dejvice and Letná.
Video mapping will be projected onto the National Museum, which is being ceremonially reopened on Saturday after major renovations, and the National Theatre.
President Miloš Zeman will present pop singer Michal David with state
honours on October 28, the day marking the centenary of Czechoslovakia’s
David, whose birth name is Vladimír Štancl, studied at the Prague Conservatory in the 1970s where he formed a jazz band. He became a major pop star in the 1980s with synthesizer-heavy disco tunes such as “Non stop”.
His made a comeback in 1998 when he composed and sang the "hymn" for the Czech national ice hockey team, which that year won the Nagano Winter Olympics. Since then, he has composed and produced several hit musicals.
Zeman said in an interview with the tabloid Blesk that he would be honouring David for his life’s work in making Czech people’s lives better.
Twenty-one leading personalities from the field of science, culture, sport
and public life were awarded the Silver Commemorative Medal of the Senate
by the chairman of the upper chamber, Milan Štěch, on Thursday evening on
the occasion of Czech Statehood Day on September 28.
The tradition of honouring people who excel in their profession and have contributed to promoting the good name of the Czech Republic abroad was established in 2012.
This year‘s laureates include the rector of Charles University, Tomáš Zima, Olympic medallist rower Ondřej Synek and musician Vladimír Mišík.