Dozens of wooden crosses with the poppy symbol appeared on the lawn under the statue of a soldier on Moravské náměstí in Brno on Saturday. They were placed there by the participants of the memorial service for the Day of War Veterans. The event has been held in Brno since 2016, this year in cooperation with the Ukrainian Initiative of South Moravia. Ukraine has been facing Russian military aggression since last year.
“It is not a matter of course to live in peace and quiet,” said the main organizer of the event, Aleš Pohanka, chairman of the Thousand Crosses for Veterans association. Dan Petříček, chaplain of the University of Defense, prayed for the people who are dying for freedom and the homeland in Ukraine and elsewhere. He also mentioned mothers and fathers who lost their offspring in military service.
Brno Greek Catholic priest Serhij Mackula said a prayer for the soldiers who defended their loved ones, their nation, human dignity and freedom as the greatest gift. He asked for blessings for them, for their families and the Czech and Ukrainian nation. The Lord’s Prayer, i.e. the basic Christian prayer, was sung by both clergymen. Members of the Vidrodžeň choir sang the Ruthenian folk song Plyve kača.
Each cross is complemented by a poppy, the international symbol of War Veterans Day. In the world, especially in the Anglo-Saxon countries, they started to remember it after the First World War. The poppy symbol originates from the poem On the Fields of Flanders, which was written in 1915 by Canadian army surgeon John McCrae under the impression of a cruel war experience.
A tribute to veterans was also held in the National Resistance Park on Saturday. In the evening, there will be a concert for the Day of War Veterans in the Red Church on Comenské náměstí. Already on Friday, the students of the University of Defense had a ceremonial start in the barracks. Another field of poppies grew with the participation of representatives of the city and the region also near the Jošta statue in front of the Governor’s Palace.
The commemoration of veterans at the Jošta statue was organized by the Brno Institute of National Memory on Friday. “I consider it essential to remember war veterans. Their stories and what they went through help paint a true picture of war that must not be forgotten. After all, thanks to this, even those who did not experience the war or experienced it from a different position can get a picture of it,” said organizer Eliška Chytrá.