Czech President Zeman celebrates Victory Day


08.05.2014 16:35

Prague - Czech President Milos Zeman, further senior elected officials, soldiers, war veterans and the general public celebrated Victory Day at the National Memorial in Vitkov in Prague today.


Pietní akt k 69. výročí ukončení druhé světové války se konal za účasti prezidenta Miloše Zemana (vlevo) 8. května u Národního památníku na Vítkově v Praze. ČTK Šulová Kateřina

The ceremony started with the Czech national anthem. A minute of silence was observed for all those who sacrificed their lives for the Czech Republic's freedom.

Zeman, senior politicians, representatives of associations and water veterans then laid wreathes at the memorial.

The event was attended by Senate chairman Milan Stech (Social Democrats, CSSD), the Chamber of Deputies chairman Jan Hamacek (CSSD), Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (CSSD), Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky (ANO), Prague Mayor Tomas Hudecek, Prague Archbishop Cardinal Dominik Duka and chief of staff Petr Pavel.

Stropnicky told journalists history had to be remembered also on account of the current situation in Ukraine.

"We should realise that even in 2014, peace is not taken for granted. We had friends, parents and grandparents who sacrificed their lives for the peace," Stropnicky said.

Zeman said it was vital to point out the fate of the war veterans, especially those fighting in Britain during World War Two.

He mentioned General Heliodor Pika, a victim of Communist terror in 1949.

Zeman said Pika had been murdered, "because execution can also be a form of murder."

Heliodor Pika (1897-1949) was a significant representative of the Czech military anti-Nazi resistance abroad. After the war, in 1945, he became Czechoslovak deputy chief-of-staff, but later the communist regime charged him with treason and executed after a show trial.

Czechs fought in Czechoslovak units as well as foreign militaries on both Western and Eastern fronts during World War Two.

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