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Pilsen´s liberators remembered at City Hall steps

The official program of this year’s Liberation Festival continued in front of the memorial plaques dedicated to the Belgian Brotherhood of the 17th Fusilier Battalion and U.S. 16th Armored Division at the steps to Pilsen City Hall. In addition to the war veterans, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium and the U.S. Ambassador were honored guests of the City of Pilsen.

After the Czech, Belgian, and American anthems were played, speeches were delivered by Deputy Mayor Eva Herinková, Belgian Ambassador Renilde Loeckx and U.S. Ambassador Norman L. Eisen.

Brotherhood of the 17th Fusilier Battalion Chairman Michel Gilan and American George Thomspon, who was just 21 years old in 1945, spoke on behalf of the veterans. Michel Gilan, who spoke first, said, “One thing that we may not all realize is that if we could be well supplied and well armed, we had our wives, mothers, sisters and daughters to thank. They were the ones who supplied us with ships and weapons and replaced all of the men who left to fight.”

Belgický veterán Michel Gilan

“Let’s not forget that someone who enters military service is essentially signing a blank check on their own life. We have to remember that these were the men who paid for our freedom. It’s a very high price to pay and we must never forget it. I call on all of you to explain to your children, grandchildren, and neighbors just what the price of freedom was, so that it may never happen again,” George Thomson told the audience. 

Americký veterán George Thompson