The Address of the President of the Czech Republic on the Occasion of the Czech National Day on the 28th of October 2020


Dear citizens,

We are meeting again by means of the television screen after just a short time. About fourteen days ago, I appealed to you to comply with the government’s anti-covid measures. However, I also urged the fining of those who are reluctant to comply with the measures, because these people harm themselves as well as others. I am meeting you today on the occasion of the most important National Day, the 28th of October, the day of independence.

I have no intention of giving a long speech as I think that the core principle of this holiday is the celebration of the deeds of those who are being decorated. I share the viewpoint of British historian Toynbee who says that historical motion is determined by the achievements of prominent individuals, whereas I do not share the Marxist historiography that sees historical motion as a cast iron schedule based on natural causes, therefore basically independent of human activity. It is for this very reason that I have always focused on the life stories of the decorated to express my deep respect and admiration for them in my annual addresses on the 28th of October. I am sorry that I cannot do so today and I owe my deepest apologies to the decorated as well as their family members that, due to strict governmental measures, I was to move the ceremony of the 28th of October to the next year. On the other hand, the names of all forty or so decorated personalities will be published no later than today on the Prague Castle website.

Why do I speak about the significance of the personalities, which is basically no novum? For I do realise that history is created by real people who have achieved something in their lives. They planted a tree, built a house, conceived a child.  These are not only the dozens of decorated ones in the Vladislav Hall at Prague Castle. There are thousands, tens of thousands, millions of people who have covered respectable life journeys and, looking back, they can see that the journey has been successful. I have always wished that more and more personalities be acknowledged by way of the Region’s Personality Award, I have always wished that the respect for the personalities relates to our towns and villages. I do believe that those who are watching me now will join me in celebrating the 28th of October as their own special day, the celebration of their own work.

I know that people exist who have achieved very little but who sully the work of others. Do not mind them, be it social network haters or mass media commentators. I remember the words of my friend Pavel Dostál who used to say that you do not argue with a janitor.

Dear citizens, we all wish the 28th of October be a celebration of national pride - the pride that is being created by all those who help our nation to a better life. We wish it to be the celebration of us all and I look forward to meeting you again in the Vladislav Hall of Prague Castle in just one year.

See you in better times

Miloš Zeman, the President of the Czech Republic, Lány, 28th October 2020