US student marching band opens Plzeň Freedom Celebrations 2024

The American student marching band Stuttgart Legacy Drumline opened the Plzeň Freedom Celebrations' cultural programme on Friday evening, marking the liberation of the city by US and Belgian troops at the end of World War II. Following the performance, 25 descendants of the veterans who liberated the city in May 1945 came onto the podium in the city's central square and addressed the crowds. Kristina Pieper, the daughter of American veteran Richard Pieper, who died last March at the age of 99, said that her father always spoke of Plzeň as his second home.

The second day of the programme began on Saturday with a mass for veterans and victims of wars in the Cathedral of St. Bartholomew, delivered by Bishop Tomáš Holub in Czech and English.

The Freedom Celebrations will continue over the weekend with a historical, military and cultural program including outdoor gatherings, concerts, guided tours and exhibitions, and will culminate on May 6 with commemorative ceremonies at monuments to the soldiers.

Author: Anna Fodor