Senate awards General Bocek, globetrotter Zikmund |

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Senate awards General Bocek, globetrotter Zikmund

Senate awards General Bocek, globetrotter Zikmund

The Senate presented its memorial silver medals on the Day Czech Statehood, on September 28, to 12 personalities, including General Emil Bocek, globetrotter Miroslav Zikmund, writers Jefim Fistejn and Karel Steigerwald and musician and former politician Michael Kocab.

The medals have been awarded for the eighth time in a row and for the first time by current Senate chairman Jaroslav Kubera (senior opposition Civic Democrats, ODS).  Bocek, 96, a WW2 fighter pilot of the UK's Royal Air Force (RAF), thanked for the medal on behalf of all awarded personalities.

"The Senate was one of the first to remember war veterans," Bocek said, adding that his award also belonged to his friends and co-fighters who had already died.

In his speech, Kubera warned of dividing the society.  "Let us not forget out roots that are uniting and forming all of us no matter if we want this or not. After all, our successful present is based on these values," Kubera added.

Other awarded personalities are cardiologist Renata Cifkova, the most cited Czech scientist, the long-term rector of Tomas Bata University in Zlin, south Moravia, Petr Saha, geologist, writer and traveller Vaclav Cilek, Czech Biathlon Association chairman Jiri Hamza, the vice-president of the World Biathlon Union, and Frantisek Pasteka who saved the lives of his neighbour and his two-year-old grand-daughter, pulling them out of a burning car.

Zikmund, 100, took a lot of trips with Jiri Hanzelka (1920-2003) all over the world, during which they were collecting a lot of documentary material.

Fistejn, 72, was a commentator and director of the Radio Free Europe broadcasting. Now, he cooperates with public media.

Steigerwald, 74, is a playwright and scriptwriter.

Kocab, 65, headed the parliamentary commission supervising the departure of the Soviet troops from the Czech territory in the 1990s. He also occupied the post of human rights and national minorities minister.

Astronomer Lubos Perek, former director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), received the Senate's silver memorial medal earlier, in June, one day before his 100th birthday.

By the end of the year, the medals are to be awarded to Czech-born former U.S. state secretary Madeleine Albright and British philosopher and political scientist Roger Scruton, who participated in the activities of the underground university under the communist regime in Czechoslovakia.

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