Twenty-two personalities awarded with state honours on occasion of national holiday
Saturday, October 28th, marked the 88th anniversary of the foundation of independent Czechoslovakia. On that occasion, Czech President Vaclav Klaus presented high state honours to twenty-two personalities, among them soldiers who fought in WWII, political prisoners from the communist era as well as academics, artists and athletes.
The highest honour, the Order of the White Lion, was given to Major General Antonin Spacek and, in memoriam, to Colonel Josef Bryks. Both men fought in Britain and France during the Second World War and then suffered at the hands of the Communist regime.
"We had firmly believed the Communists couldn't resurface on the Czech political scene. But here they are, firmly established, and they are making more and more demands."
Both chambers of parliament as well as public institutions and individuals can nominate potential candidates for the state awards; the final choice is made by the head of state. Since becoming President, Vaclav Klaus has been awarding fewer people than his predecessor Vaclav Havel, who awarded as many as 89 personalities eight years ago.