By George Patton Waters
The city of Pilsen, Czech Republic, has been honoring the American soldiers of World War II for giving them their freedom more than seven decades ago.
On May 6, 1945, Gen. George S. Patton’s Third Army liberated the city of Pilsen. Sadly, Pilsen’s freedom was short-lived when in 1948 the Russians not only took control of the city, but began erasing all of the history and heroics of the American Army. In 1968, the Soviet Union and its allies had a full scale invasion with a mission to eradicate the remaining freedom of all Czech citizens.
That sad chapter in Czech history all changed in 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell as did communism.
Since 1990, the city of Pilsen has celebrated their freedom with an annual Liberation Festival.
This year’s Liberation Festival takes place May 2-6. The citizens of Pilsen invite all U.S. Army active-duty Soldiers and their families to attend this heartwarming tribute. What’s even more moving is how this small city continues to remember the American Soldier 74 years after America’s fighting men liberated their city.
• The Convoy of Liberty with hundreds of actual World War II vehicles.
• A discussion with World War II veterans sharing stories with students and their parents.
• A number of public wreath laying ceremonies at monuments and memorials honoring and remembering the American Army.
• Meet World War II re-enactors who have re-created World War II camp sites in breathtaking details.
• Music for all ages. Live bands with music spanning decades.
• A genuine outpouring of love and appreciation for America.
One of the special moments includes a scholarship presentation by the Brian LaViolette Foundation from Green Bay, Wisconsin. The General George S. Patton Scholarship of Honor is presented to honor Patton and remember the sacrifices of the American Soldier. It is awarded to a graduating Pilsen-area high school senior who has chosen to enter the military or pursue a career in public safety or community service.
(Editor’s note: George Patton Waters, grandson of George S. Patton, will be present at the Liberation Festival along with other Americans coming from the U.S. This story has been edited from its original version.)