On the Occasion of the Czech Republic's National Day

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
October 27, 2014

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of the Czech Republic as you celebrate your national day on October 28.

This year’s celebration is particularly significant as you celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. What began as students, artists, and union members peacefully gathering in the streets of Bratislava and Prague in November – armed with flowers and the plays and essays of Vaclav Havel – became freedom for all Czechs by December. The Czech Republic is a democracy today because of the courage of those who demanded it years before.

As a Senator, I took great pride in your courage – and my connection to your country became even more personal as my brother, Cam, studied our family genealogy and traced it all the way back to the town that is now Horni Benesov. It is where my grandfather was born. With my grandmother and uncle, he left for America – settling in Chicago and finally Boston, which my family has called home ever since.

Today, the United States and the Czech Republic are close NATO allies. We are grateful to the Czech Republic for your support in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Syria, and in the fight against terrorism.

The United States looks forward to our continuing cooperation to promote the causes of freedom, prosperity, and human dignity around the world.

As you mark your national day, the United States celebrates with you as a friend and ally.