Ivanka pri Dunaji, May 4 (TASR) – The best way for Slovaks to get to know the giants of their history is to see commemorative sites, like the location of the tragic death of statesman Milan Rastislav Stefanik in Ivanka pri Dunaji on May 4, 1919, Prime Minister Robert Fico stated at the site near Bratislava on Thursday.
“It’s going to be 100 years in May 2019 since the death of one of the most noted Slovaks. I don’t want to make a chart on who’s been the first, second and third – which place is occupied by [national revivalist Ludovit] Stur, Stefanik and [communist reformist leader Alexander] Dubcek. Stefanik is a hugely inspiring person for me,” said Fico, adding that he’s always been motivated by Stefanik’s motto ‘I’ll fight my way through, because I want to break through’.
Widely regarded as one of the most significant figures 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.