Veterans Day commemorated in Prague |

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Veterans Day commemorated in Prague

Veterans Day commemorated in Prague

Czech top brass, politicians and the public commemorated the victims of and participants in wars at the Prague Vitkov National Memorial on the Veterans Day.

At the ceremony, the Defence Ministry decorated eight personalities and one modern war veteran was promoted to the rank of colonel. Further events are held across the Czech Republic.

At the Vitkov Memorial, the senior officials laid wreathes under the equestrian statue of Jan Zizka, a 15th century general of the Hussite army.

The event was attended by Senate chairman Jaroslav Kubera, the Chamber of Deputies deputy chairman, Vojtech Pikal, and Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib.

Eight personalities received the National Defence Cross or the Defence Minister Cross of Merit.

Bretislav Mizera, who took part in two peace-keeping missions in 1993 and 2003, was promoted to the rank of colonel.

The National Defence Cross was given to war veteran Jarmila Halbrstatova, who took part in the Sokolovo, Kiev and Dukla Pass battles on the Eastern front.

The same medal was bestowed on Zoe Klusakova, who, along with her mother and brother, provided the help to the families persecuted by the Gestapo. Later, she helped in hiding Czechoslovak paratroopers.

"Unfortunately, even our group had a traitor whose betrayal cost us many lives," Klusakova told journalists.

The Czechoslovak legionary Jindrich Holecek, member of the Nazdar company and Battle of Arras veteran, was decorated in memoriam.

Also decorated in memoriam was Frantisek Veitl, London exile government bodyguard of president Edvard Benes and later No 311 (Czechoslovak) Squadron RAF gunner.

Other decorated include former Czech Air Force commander Ladislav Minarik, the founder of the 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade Karel Kuba in memoriam, Ludmila Formankova for her care of war veterans and Euan Edworthy, who initiated the construction of the Prague's Winged Lion Memorial to the Czechoslovak airmen who served in the Royal Air Force (RAF) during World War II.

In the Czech Republic, the Veterans Day has been observed since 2001. There are about 340 World War Two veterans and over 15,000 veterans of recent missions in the Czech Republic.

Chief of Staff Ales Opata said traditions were of major importance to the troops. He spoke of the Czechoslovak World War One fighters against the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and World War Two fighters. "Today, we are following up these legends," Opata said.


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