RAF pilots to be remembered at náměstí Míru

Veterans Day is not an official holiday in the Czech Republic

Czechoslovak RAF pilots will be remembered Nov. 11 at náměstí Míru in Prague 2. It is the second time that war veterans will be remembered on the square. Internationally, the day is marked by a red poppy flower, which is meant to symbolize the blood of the fallen soldiers. The event is organized by Prague 2 in cooperation with the Association of Veterans of the Czech Republic, the Czech Army Military History Institute and the Czechoslovak Legionnaires Community.

Events at náměstí Míru, which coincidentally translates to Peace Square, start at 2 pm. In particular, the Czechoslovak pilots who flew with the Royal Air Force during World War II will be remembered. The event will include a renewed opening of a series of photos called Nebeští jezdci (Sky Riders), which is related to a book and film of the same name about the RAF pilots.

Films from the military archives will be presented, and there will be a model of a Spitfire plane, one of the types flown by the Czechoslovak pilots. There will also be a display of contemporary military equipment. The day will end with prayers for fallen soldiers.

The 312 Squadron of the RAF was the main unit that Czechoslovak pilots participated in. It was formed in July 1940 with Hurricane I fighters. It later used Hurricane II planes and then starting in October 1941 it used Spitfires. Almost 90 Czechoslovak pilots participated in the Battle of Britain. Later, the squadron helped in preparations for the D-Day invasion by flying in fighter and bomber units to soften up targets, and were on several other important mission. Seven of the squadron's planes still exist. After the war, many of the pilots who returned to Czechoslovakia faced persecution.

Nov. 11 is celebrated as an official holiday in several countries, but not the Czech Republic. It began as a remembrance of the end of World War I, but is now used to remember veterans in general. In the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth of Nations, it is called Remembrance Day. In the US is is now called Veterans Day, and New Zealand, France, Belgium and Serbia know it is Armistice Day. Poland regards it as Independence Day, as Poland achieved established the Second Polish Republic at the end of World War I.

See also:
The Prague POPPY Appeal / The Prague POPPY Appeal Facebook 
Remembrance Sunday in the Czech Republic (Sunday, November 13 from 10:40)

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