Stefanik's Great-grandnephew Hands over State Decoration to President's Office

Stefanik's Great-grandnephew Hands over State Decoration to President's Office
President Zuzana Caputova receives Milan Rastislav Stefanik's great-grandnephew Peter Kanka at the Presidential Palace on May 3, 2024 (photo by TASR)

       Bratislava, May 3 (TASR) - Peter Kanka, the great-grandnephew of General Milan Rastislav Stefanik, has handed over the state decoration of the Order of the White Lion of Military Group Class I in memoriam to the President's Office for safekeeping, with President Zuzana Caputova symbolically taking over guardianship of the medal at the Presidential Palace on Friday on the occasion of the 105th anniversary of Stefanik's death.
        The state decoration in memoriam was awarded to Stefanik by Czech President Petr Pavel in October last year for his services to the founding of Czechoslovakia and for the benefit of the Czech Republic.
        The Slovak head of state considers the symbolic presence of Stefanik on the premises of the Presidential Palace as an opportunity, but also a commitment to act in a way that would live up to the ideals that he believed in. "He would undoubtedly remind us that patriotism doesn't mean isolation, and pride in a nation has nothing to do with hostility towards other nations," she said, adding that he would also point out that the alliance and friendship that Slovakia has with the Czech Republic and other European states needs to be cultivated. "Just as freedom must be protected, because he himself knew its price and knew that it couldn't be acquired without sacrifice," she noted.
        Kanka was happy to be able to lend the award and give people in Slovakia the opportunity to see it. "I'd like to express my great gratitude that you've received me and that I can convey this award to our people," he said.
        According to Czech Ambassador to Slovakia Rudolf Jindrak, it's important to commemorate important personalities who have made their mark on history and without whom events that have shaped and continue to shape the statehood of both countries wouldn't have taken place. "At the moment we're having certain discussions with each other on topics on which we don't share the same opinions. I always say that we have to consider relations between Slovaks and Czechs in their overall breadth, in their century-long duration and in all the historical contexts that took place after the setting up of Czechoslovakia," noted Jindrak.
        Stefanik, one of co-founders of Czechoslovakia in 1918 and its first and last minister of war, was killed with his entire crew when his Caproni Ca.33 biplane crashed near Ivanka pri Dunaji (Bratislava region) on May 4, 1919.