Today in Mailbox: the re-enactment of Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV's annual procession; a journey on the Posazavsky Pacific; response to US plans to build a radar station in the Czech Republic and reactions to Radio Prague's interview with a US veteran from Iraq. Listeners quoted: Aloisie Krasny, David Eldridge, Vladimir Val Cymbal, Robin Lane, Andrew Walters, Stephen K. McDonald.
"I read this article with great pleasure. What a wonderful two-day event for everyone, following in the footsteps of Czech Royal history. As long as the events, costumes, characters are professional to ensure that it remains as authentic as possible will attract so many people worldwide. Italy and France have many processions throughout the year and I am glad to see the Czech Republic displaying their traditions and history. I can't wait to attend the next one."
David Eldridge from England enjoyed Jan Velinger's account of a journey on the Posazavsky Pacific train in last week's Spotlight.
"I'd love to be one of those kids on the Posazavsky Pacifik, though I can't grumble since we are not short of similar activities here. I have noticed that your railway staff seem to be proud of their heritage. Someday, maybe, I'll be able to take a ride on one of your steam trips on Czech rails."
Robin Lane tunes in to Radio Prague in Ontario, Canada.
"I listen to Czech Radio through CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) a couple of times a week on my commute to work. This morning just before 5:30 a.m. you talked about a musician who was born in the Czech Republic, lives in the U.S. and sings in Spanish. I could not catch the name of the artist and I am hoping you can help me out."
The singer you are enquiring about is Marta Topferova. She was born in Czechoslovakia, the daughter of well-known actor Tomas Topfer, but left this country as a teenager. She only comes back every now and then and most recently she came to Prague to perform at the opening of the Respect music festival at the end of May.
Reacting to the much discussed topic of the planned US anti-missile shield to be built in Poland and the Czech Republic, Vladimir Val Cymbal has written this:
"I just read the article about protests against the U.S. broad missile defense shield. It is easy to understand why some people do not want to be involved with it. But one should look at the world situation and study history before making a decision. What country do you think they would sacrifice first? Hmmm, what country was sacrificed in 1939? What happened after Czechoslovakia was turned over like a sacrificial lamb? Oh, I remember, the world was sucked into a terrible world war that cost millions of lives and ruined millions more. Now, who was most responsible for ending this horrible war? Was it France, Great Britain, Russia? No. It was the United States of America that saved the world from tyranny."
"Tom Cassidy tries to sound like a victim seduced into military service as if he had no other opportunity. He is misinforming you on that account. There are so many opportunities in this country that one would have a hard time counting them all."
Andrew Walters from Pennsylvania responds to the same interview:
"Economics is definitely a reason to join the Armed Services. If you need the money, you've done your homework, and you know what to expect, then there is no shame in volunteering to serve your country come what may. My fellow veteran, if you felt preyed upon then you certainly didn't do your homework. None of my highly motivated associates or I felt preyed upon when we signed up. The information provided me was straightforward and honest to a fault."
And on the same topic, Stephen K. McDonald from Texas writes:
"After hearing your program featuring a disheartened American soldier by the name of Tom Cassidy, I was very angry by his simplistic assumptions regarding both the Iraq war, and the Eastern European missile defense shield. I would like you to know that from my own personal knowledge of friends and family who have served in this conflict, that it is first and foremost the individual's decision to serve in the military. Mr. Cassidy volunteered. That simple, if he so objected to the military or the conflict, he should have considered every possible option. Mr. Cassidy has every right to feel however he wishes, just understand that his view is not widely shared."
Thank you very much for writing in to Radio Prague and please keep those letters coming.
Now we have just about enough time to repeat our competition question for June:
This month we would like to know the name of a composer who was born in 1860 in what is now the Czech Republic and lived here until the age of fifteen. Later he studied music in Vienna and worked as a conductor in several Central European cities, including Ljubljana, Budapest, Vienna but also Prague and Olomouc. He also lived and worked in New York for some time. He died in Vienna at age 50, leaving behind nine symphonies and a number of vocal works.
Your answers should reach us by the end of June at the usual address firstname.lastname@example.org, or if you prefer Radio Prague, 12099 Prague, Czech Republic.