On the 28th of October, the Czech Republic will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia. Although the country split into two different states in 1993, such commemorative events still play a central part in shaping the collective memory of many Czechs and Slovaks and in safeguarding the shared history of both nations.
Many celebrations will mark that important date, a public holiday in the Czech Republic: gatherings, exhibitions, concerts, shows… and as local media reports, a huge military parade in Prague, the likes of which the city has not seen for a long time.
More than 2.100 soldiers, firefighters, police and customs officers will parade on Evropska trida, a long avenue located in Prague’s 6th district, exposing their military know-how and showcasing their military equipment, from light vehicles to heavier artillery and tanks. The opening ceremony, in the presence of Czech President Milos Zeman, will be held at 2 pm and will be followed by an airshow of Czech aircraft and helicopters in Prague’s sky. Both Czech and Slovak ground units, stretching in a 5-km-long column, will then parade during one hour and a half.
Air traffic at Prague’s Vaclav Havel international airport is expected to be closed during one hour due to the celebrations.
Slovakia‘s President Andrej Kiska and Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini should also attend some of the celebrations, alongside Czech President Milos Zeman – who has recently sparked controversy for refusing to attend commemorations of the crushing of the Prague Spring in 1968 – and other Czech officials.
Ten years ago, a similar, albeit smaller, military parade was organized to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia.
Strangely enough, October 28 is not considered a public holiday in Slovakia. But in order to mark the centenary and give the opportunity to its citizens to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the common state, the Slovak Parliament recently voted to make October 30 a regular public holiday… only for this year.