WASHINGTON, Sept. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Seventy years after its destruction by Nazi troops, a memorial statue honoring President Woodrow Wilson will return to its original location on Oct. 5 in Prague, Czech Republic, the American Friends of the Czech Republic (AFoCR) announced today. The Wilson Monument commemorates the role that the former U.S. president played in helping the Czech people achieve independence in 1918, and it will stand as an enduring symbol of the historic friendship between the United States and Czech Republic.
"Many Americans, including the millions who are of Czech descent, are unaware of the aid and support President Wilson gave to the Czech people in their struggle for freedom," said AFoCR Director Robert Doubek, who is Project Director for the Wilson Monument. "But the Czech people never forgot which country and which president did so much so secure their independence as a free nation. The rededicated Woodrow Wilson Monument honors a historic friendship that has stood the test of time."
Former Czech President Vaclav Havel and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright will serve as honorary co-chairs of AFoCR's Gala Award Dinner that will be held at the Rudolfinum in Prague on Oct. 4, 2011. The dinner will celebrate the completion of the Woodrow Wilson Monument and recognize over 20 years of close and strong U.S.-Czech relations. Special guests will be U.S. Ambassador Norman Eisen and Czech Ambassador Petr Gandalovic.
In 2002, AFoCR established a memorial in Washington, D.C., to Tomas Masaryk, who was the founder and first president of Czechoslovakia. In 2006, AFoCR undertook to reestablish the Wilson Monument in Prague, which had been destroyed by the Nazis during the German occupation in World War II. The project was formally approved by Prague's City Council in 2007, and AFoCR has been working closely on the project with the Metropolitan District of Prague 1 and the Capital City of Prague.
The original Wilson Monument, which stood in front of Prague's main train station, was dedicated on July 4, 1928, by Americans of Czech and Slovak descent. After Nazi Germany's defeat in World War II, the Czech people commemorated the monument at its former site with a plaque on a small pedestal that promised that Americans of Czech descent would rebuild it. In 1948, the plaque was removed after the Communist takeover of Czechoslovakia.
The commemorative events begin on Tuesday, Oct. 4, with the grand opening of an exhibit at the Czech National Museum in Prague honoring Presidents Wilson and Masaryk and the historic U.S.-Czech friendship. Following the statue unveiling and monument dedication on Oct. 5, commemorative events will continue throughout the week, including a dedication golf tournament at Resort Konopiste near Prague.
For more information, please visit http://www.afocr.org/.
About American Friends of the Czech Republic
Founded as an American private non-governmental organization, American Friends of the Czech Republic fosters closer ties between the United States and the Czech Republic in the areas of business, trade, culture, education, diplomacy, and security. It enhances understanding, friendship, and respect between the peoples of the two countries, while educating U.S. government leaders, media and other opinion makers about the goals and aspirations of the Czech people. Nationwide in scope, AFoCR is the voice of the American constituency that supports the Czech democracy.
SOURCE American Friends of the Czech Republic