Václav Havel

Many of you might not know who this man is.  And to be honest, if you would have asked me about him four months ago, all I could tell you is that his name only sounded vaguely familiar.  Living in Prague this past semester really taught me how amazing this man is.  He was a Czech playwright, essayist, poet, and politician.  The last president of Czechoslovakia and the first president of the independent Czech Republic to be exact.  Yes, quite the Renaissance man.  The reason I bring him up today is because, if you haven’t heard already in the news, he passed away this morning at age 75.  There was a big memorial for him at Wenceslas Square today and in the midst of studying for finals I wasn’t sure if I was going to go.  However, I know how extremely important this is.  I guess I’ve gained a strange connection to the Czech people and a sense of Czech pride while living here that I hadn’t realized until today when I decided to go.  I obviously never got the chance to meet Václav Havel, but I’m glad I got to see him speak at Forum 2000.  The gathering at Wenceslas Square wasn’t as large as I had expected, but I did get there 45 minutes late so I probably missed the big crowd.  There was a man speaking while a choir of people sang the Czech National Anthem among other songs. And a lot of people placing candles around the St. Wenceslas statue and the square.  I could sense how much the Czechs loved him and regarded them as a national hero.  RIP pan Havel, you will be missed by this entire nation.