First World War Dead Remembered at Bratislava’s Military Cemetery

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Defence Minister Peter Gajdos laying wreaths to honour fallen soldiers of the WWI at Bratislava's Military Cemetery on Veterans Day (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, November 11 (TASR) – People shouldn’t forget the horrors of war for the sake of those who fought for peace, stated Defence Minister Peter Gajdos (a Slovak National Party/SNS nominee) at the military cemetery in Bratislava’s borough of Petrzalka on Saturday.

Speaking at a commemoration ceremony in honour of soldiers who fought and died in the First World War, Gajdos said that evil still has its place in society. “Therefore, we must fight hard against extremism and fascism,” he stressed.

“Freedom isn’t for free, and it needs to be respected. The victims of war mustn’t be forgotten, as they laid down their lives for peace,” he added.

The defence minister went on to say that there are currently more than 7,000 modern-day veterans in Slovakia. The state respects all of them and intends to increase their benefits. Since November, higher benefits have been paid, for example, to those who participated in the national struggle for liberation as well as to the widows and widowers of the participants.

The military cemetery in Kopcany was set up during the First World War in 1916 adjacent to a field hospital in which mainly soldiers fighting for the Austro-Hungarian monarchy were treated. A total of 331 soldiers from nine identified nations who fought for both sides in the conflict were laid to rest in the cemetery.

Veterans Day is commemorated annually on November 11, as it was on this day in 1918 that the armistice that ended the First World War was signed in the French town of Compiegne. In some countries November 11 is observed as Remembrance Day or Poppy Day. The brilliant red colour of the poppies symbolises the blood spilled in the war.