Na zdraví…

Next time you have a beer in your hand, please call it a pivo and give a rousing Na zdraví (cheers), in memory of Vaclav Havel.

Tribute to Vaclav Havel in Prague’s Václavské náměstí. Photo via http://www.lukasbiba.com

I woke up slightly rested this morning and Facebook informed me that Havel, the first president of Czechoslovakia after the 1989 Velvet Revolution had passed away. I didn’t see any sign of it on the nightly news tonight on this side of the pond, but here are a few articles if you have any interest in who he was, or what he meant to the Czech Republic.
From NPR: Vaclav Havel, Leader of the Velvet Revolution, Dies 
From The New York Times: Vaclav Havel, Former Czech President, Dies at 75 

Image via The New York Times. Havel lights a candle during the celebration for the 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. 17.11.09. 

There are a lot of things that I will never forget about my time in Prague. Being there in November of 2009 and witnessing the celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution is certainly up there among them. Despite my very sporadic blogging in Prague, I did manage to write about that one. You can find it here. Without their poet/playwright/dissident leader, the Czech revolution might have looked very different. He made an indelible mark on the country as they began to form a free and independent national identity for the first time since pre-World War II. Not just any country would elect a playwright as their first president…. the offbeat-ness is part of their charm. 

So RIP and děkuji, Mr. Havel. Next time I can get my hands on some Becherovka or Slivovice, we’ll throw one back for you. I’ll leave you with some of his words of wisdom…

“I really do inhabit a system in which words are capable of shaking the entire structure of government, where words can prove mightier than ten military divisions.”

“Anyone who takes himself too seriously always runs the risk of looking ridiculous; anyone who can consistently laugh at himself does not.”

“Even a purely moral act that has no hope of any immediate and visible political effect can gradually and indirectly, over time, gain in political significance.”

And my favorite…

“Hope is a feeling that life and work have meaning. You either have it or you don’t, regardless of the state of the world that surrounds you.”
Havel to the Castle. Velvet Revolution anniversary 17.11.09
Keys up.
Shaking keys.
Probably one of my favorite pictures I took in the CZR.

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