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Photo: Katerina Lizcova Kulhankova
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American Sokol XXIV National Slet in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Hundreds of members of the American Sokol, Sokol USA and Sokol Canada participated in the XXIV National Slet of American Sokol in Cedar Rapids.

The Slet took place on June 22 – 25 and included the opening banquet & hall of fame awards, Victory Dance party, volleyball, fitness, pulling the rope and other competitions, and of course the final program at the Kingston Stadium, which features also folklore dancing.

Cedar Rapids has a remarkable Czech history. The participants had an opportunity to visit the „Czech Village“, the New Bohemia neighborhood and particularly the wonderful Czech and Slovak National Museum & Library.

Many thanks to everyone who made this event possible!

More photographs by Kateřina Lizcová Kulhánková are available at the official facebook page of the Consul General www.facebook.com/Borek-Lizec-730175033828121

Mr. Bořek Lizec, Consul General of the Czech Republic in Chicago attended the Slet and delivered the following address at its opening:

Dear American Sokol President Jean Hruby,
Dear brothers and sisters, dear friends,

What a great honor to represent the Czech Republic at the XXIV American Sokol National Slet and Festival in Cedar Rapids, this great historic Czech and Slovak center with such a wonderful institution as the Czech and Slovak National Museum and Library (CSNML).

I would like to thank everyone who made this event possible, starting with the American Sokol President Jean Hruby and all Sokol sisters and brothers. I would also like to thank Gail Naughton, President of the CSNML and her colleagues. I would also like to personally welcome Honorary Consul of the Czech Republic from Minnesota, Ms. Marit Lee Kucera, whose jurisdiction covers also Iowa, and the Honorary Consul from Kansas, Ms. Sharon Valasek.

“Ve zdravém těle, zdravý duch.” “In a healthy body, a healthy - educated mid.” The implementation of this idea into the life of Sokols was to lead to the advancement of an individual as well as the nation. I am very grateful to you that you have continued over many generations to consider this recipe as a whole to be your mission.

Sokol halls continue to serve as true Czech centers – hosting your own Czech projects as well as projects of other institutions, even classes of the Czech language. In many states there would be no place to organize Czech events if it was not for your halls. Thank you for being the wonderful ambassadors of the Czech Culture.

First Sokol unit in the United States founded in St. Louis is only three years younger than the Sokol organization as such, than the first Sokol unit established on the territory of the Czech Republic. Sokol organization is by more than 50 years older than the Czechoslovak Republic. It was in fact the Sokol organization that played a key role in the creation of Czechoslovakia in 1918. Sokols, not only from our homeland, but also from abroad, including from the United States of America, fought in the Czechoslovak legions in the First World War, they resisted the Nazi occupation and opposed also the communist totalitarian regime.

Next year we will celebrate 100 years since the creation of Czechoslovakia, since the creation of the modern Czech statehood and, of course, the Sokol Slet in Prague will be one of the most important celebrations of the anniversary.
A major celebration of the anniversary will take place also in Chicago. Chicago played a unique role in the creation of Czechoslovakia and has remained its close friend ever since. It is fair to say that without Chicago there would be no Czechoslovakia.

First Czechoslovak President Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk came to Chicago in 1902 and as a Professor of the University of Chicago got the opportunity to present here the “Czech question” on such an important forum for the first time in the United States. He found a strong supporter in the Chicago philanthropist Charles Crane who helped him to get the consent of President Woodrow Wilson with the creation of Czechoslovakia.

After the second Czechoslovak President Edvard Beneš left for exile in response to the Munich Agreement, he also became University of Chicago Professor. In Chicago, he started to act as Czechoslovak President in exile and founded the “Foreign Action”, the de facto government in exile.

Just as in other parts of the United States, the democratic traditions of the first Czechoslovak Republic were kept alive in Chicago during the communist regime in my country. The United States also extended to us a great help in the integration into the Western structures, starting with NATO. The security challenges that we face today highlight how important this help was.

I am incredibly grateful to all Sokols, Czech Americans and friends of the Czech Republic from all the United States for their continued support and friendship.

With the gratitude for all that you have done during the more than 150 years for my country I sincerely and wholeheartedly congratulate you on the XXIV American Sokol National Slet and Festival.



Sokol 2017