July 4th, 2013, from Prague

Daughter Caroline Griffith, Colgate 2015, announced last Winter that she would be spending the Summer in Prague. Once the decision was made, we knew that if we wanted to see her, it was going to be in Prague.  We arrived last Saturday.
The tour of the city started with Prague Castle, St. Vitis cathedral and the other magnificent structures in this most beautiful of cities. It rivals Paris for its charm and architectural beauty and at half the price.
This is the first time other than Navy days that I have been away from America on July 4th. Being in Prague, however, allows me to think of the Czech struggles for independence that have been bloody, and numerous. The twentieth century celebrations started on October 28, 1918 with the declaration of Czech independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire following World War I. This was the creation of the Czechoslovakian nation that was taken over by Germany in 1938 thanks to the British capitulation at Munich at the hand of Neville “Peace in our Time”  Chamberlin. This nation was then taken over by the Russians in 1948. These events gave rise to more independence days for the Czechs. First is the May 8, 1945 Freedom from German occupation, then the 1989 Velvet Revolution that freed the Czechs from Russian domination. and,
finally the complete independence and the creation of the Czech Republic in 1993 that is celebrated on January 1st. each year. Of course, let’s not forget the failed 1968 Revolution that was extinguished by Russian tanks.
The Czech struggle for independence has been continous for nearly one hundred years. It is now, it seems, succesful as the nation is vibrant, and, of course, full of tourists, mainly from Germany and Italy, who are in Prague to enjoy the culture, cuisine and charm of this great city. As I said, it has the beauty and charm of Paris at half the price.
The Czechs have pursued and won independence and are now enjoying the freedom which, once won, must be protected and celebrated as we celebrate on July 4 each year.

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