Václav Havel to be given state funeral and highest military honors
As thousands of Czechs line up to pay their last respects to Václav Havel, bowing to his casket at the Prague Crossroads spiritual centre where he is lying in repose, preparations are underway for Wednesday’s funeral procession to Prague Castle, Friday’s celebratory mass at St. Vitus’ Cathedral and other commemorative events.
Flags will be flown at half mast, theatres and cinemas will alter their programmes to suit the occasion and the government has asked the public to refrain from ostentatious undertakings. The government will propose a special law, recognizing Václav Havel’s contribution to freedom and democracy, which the prime minister has asked Parliament to approve in its first reading.
A special ceremony is to take place in the Vladislav Hall at which the country’s political elite will honor the man who helped change the course of Czech history. Among those present will be President Klaus, members of the government, deputies and senators, church dignitaries and foreign ambassadors – a gathering reminiscent of those that take place on the country’s state holiday. After the ceremony the hall will be opened to the public for people to pay their last respects.
The funeral service for Václav Havel, which is to be celebrated by the Archbishop of Prague Dominik Duka and Mr. Havel’s old friend Bishop Václav Maly will take place on Friday at noon at St. Vitus Cathedral within the Prague Castle Complex. At the family’s request a private ceremony will follow at an unnamed crematorium and Václav Havel’s ashes will be placed in the family tomb.