Czechoslovakia 100th and Prague Spring 50th anniversaries
Czechoslovakia 100th and Prague Spring 50th anniversaries August 19, 2018 Czech Cultural Garden in Cleveland
2018 is a special year. Not only are we celebrating 100 years of the founding of Czechoslovakia, but also 50 years since Prague Spring - the loosening of the tight grip of the communist regime by Slovak Alexander Dubcek, that came to a sudden halt on August 20, 1968 when the country was invaded by Soviet forces.
To commemorate these anniversaries, a re-installation and a re-dedication of two plaques in the Czech Cultural Garden took place on Sunday, August 19, 2018. Paul Burik is a past-president of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation (CCGF) and is also the delegate for the Czech Cultural Garden. He was the driving force behind the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the formation of Czechoslovakia as well as the 50 year anniversary of the Prague Spring. He also served as Master of Ceremonies.
The ceremony began with Paul welcoming the attendees and answering the question "Why are we here today?" The answer is that 100 years ago in 1918 T.G. Masaryk spearheaded the formation of a new, democratic republic of Czechoslovakia. Also, 50 years ago in 1968, the effort by Alexander Dubcek to improve the living conditions of the people - known as the Prague Spring - came to a sudden end on August 20, 1968.
Paul introduced other groups in attendance - Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian, Finnish, Rusyn and Serbian - and gave an overview of the 100 and 50 year anniversaries. Then Marjorie Juba led the singing of the US national anthem.
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Marjorie Juba sings US national anthem
Paul told of the Commemorative Wall in the Garden which was established in 1936.
Paul Burik explains the Commemorative Wall in the Czech Cultural Garden
Carolyn Huber and Barb Golias unveiled the restored plaque of the Czech national anthem.
Unveiling the Czech anthem plaque
Czech national anthem plaque
Then Marjorie Juba sang the Czech part of the Czechoslovakia national anthem.
Dr. Stan Bohanek translated and explained the Czech national anthem.
Dr. Stan Bohanek
The second part of the national anthem of Czechoslovakia is the Slovak part. Marjorie Juba sang the Slovak anthem and Dr. Stan Pechan translated and explained the Slovak national anthem.
Dr. Stan Pechan
Paul Burik then spoke about the Slovak flag.
Ted Krejsa from Sokol Greater Cleveland straightens the Slovak Flag
The First Republic also included Rusyns along with Czechs and Slovaks so Laurel Tombazzi explained and sang the Rusin national anthem and how it derived from the Duchnovic poem Ja Rusyn Byl.
Carpatho Rusyn Flag
Next, Paul Burik spoke about the Slavic people.
They unveiled a plaque of the hymn Hey Slovane.
Unveiling the Hey Slovane plaque
Hey Slovane plaque
Next, Paul told about Tomas Masaryk the first president of Czechoslovakia and the formation of the country.
Paul Burik and Masaryk statue
He asked representatives of the Czech, Slovak, Rusin, Finnish, Latvian, Estonian and Lithuanian communities to symbolically water the roses planted in front of the statue of Masaryk.
Representatives of the Czech, Slovak, Rusin, Finnish, Latvian, Estonian and Lithuanian communities symbolically water the roses planted in front of the statue of Masaryk
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Next, Dr. Wael Khoury, current president of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation, congratulated the Czech and other communities.
Dr. Wael Khoury
Sheila Murphy Crawford is the past president of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation (CCGF) and delegate to the Irish Garden.
Sheila Murphy Crawford
She echoed the congratulations and she brought up several other CCGF delegates in attendance.
Sheila Murphy Crawford and CCGF representatives
Chris Ronayne , president of the Holden Parks Trust and University Circle Inc., spoke next.
He presented Paul Burik with a proclamation.
Chris Ronayne and Paul Burik
The final speaker was Dr. Richard Crepage, Slovak Honorary Council designee.
Dr. Richard Crepage, Slovak Honorary Council designee
In his concluding remarks, Paul Burik thanked Lex Machaskee form the Serbian Garden, Dan Hanson from ClevelandPeople.com and others. He stated that improvements and the program were supported by Czech Cultural Garden / Sokol Greater Cleveland, Holden Parks Trust, Victor Ptak Family and SVU Cleveland- Czechoslovak Society for Arts and Sciences . After a group photo the attendees enjoyed refreshments.
Congratulations to Paul Burik and the representatives of the Czech, Slovak, Rusin and other groups on this important event.
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