Brezova pod Bradlom, May 6 (TASR) – The legacy of Slovak statesman Milan Rastislav Stefanik, who was killed in a plane crash 98 years ago, is still alive and will indeed live forever mainly as a message for the young, Defence Minister Peter Gajdos (a Slovak National Party/SNS nominee) said at the Stefanik Memorial at Bradlo (Trencin region) on Saturday.
“I’m immensely happy that Stefanik is a role model not only for the young generation, but also for all of us – our professional soldiers, diplomats and politicians. His motto ‘Believe, Love, Work’ still holds, and if we keep it, we’ll achieve success with our beautiful native Slovakia,” said Gajdos at the national commemorative event.
France’s Ambassador to Slovakia Christophe Leonzi in an interview for TASR later recalled that Stefanik as a French military general was also a citizen of that country. His ideas as politician, scientist and military man are still alive mainly with respect to the common history of France and Slovakia, which was earlier part of Czechoslovakia, stated Leonzi.
“His legacy is relevant mainly in the present times of a common Europe. We must not only preserve his ideas, but also fight against those who divide people – i.e. fascism, nationalism, populism and extremism,” said the French Ambassador.
Apart from the Slovak Defence Minister and French Ambassador, the event was also attended by Russian Ambassador Alexey Leonidovich Fedotov, several MPs, religious dignitaries and other public figures.
Widely regarded as one of the most significant personages of Slovakia’s modern history, Stefanik was born in 1880 in Kosariska (Trencin region) and died in a plane crash in Ivanka pri Dunaji in 1919. He was an outstanding astronomer, military pilot, French military general and one of the first Slovaks who several times ascended Mont Blanc. Most notably, he was instrumental in setting up Czechoslovakia in 1918 along with the country’s first president Tomas Garrigue Masaryk and second president Edvard Benes.