Roy Exum: Liberate Pilsen Again!

Monday, April 12, 2021 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

Dear President Biden …

A perfect caper has just landed in our lap and, Mr. Commander-in-Chief, according to the School of Free Thought, we can have a hot-diggedy time with this one. Not many on your cabinet will know this but on May 6th, 1945, the “Fightin’ Armadillos,” which you’ll recognize as the 16th Armored of General Patton’s Third Army, liberated Plzen, Czechoslovakia from despicable Nazi Germany. Since then, Plzen has become ‘Pilsen, Czech Republic’ and, sir, it is world famous because of the saintly craftwork by Bavarian brewer Josef Groll who, in 1842, used the area’s legendary Saaz noble hops and the area’s unique soft water to create the first ‘Pilsner beer.’ That’s right, it is the home of Pilsner technique and today’s nectar of the gods, born in the city-owned Pilsner Urquell Brewery, is evermore the benchmark.

Now for the fun part; throughout Europe one of the greatest festivals known is the Pilsen Liberation Festival.

Every May 6th it seems a good half of the Czech Republic turns out to line the streets of Pilsen to honor the United States of America. In the center of town there is a huge monument made of granite, on its face are the words, “THANK YOU AMERICA! On May 6th, 1945, the City of Plzen Was Liberated by the United States Army.” The words are gilded in gold and on a twin beam the words are repeated in the Czech Republic’s native language. A huge emblem of the U.S. Army is engraved on both of the massive granite columns.

Hold it! The festival lasts three days. There is “The Convoy of Liberty” where crowds six deep line the sidewalks and cheer the way their forebears once did. Stunningly restored U.S. Army Willys jeeps, half-tracks, tanks, and more roll down the streets as they did 76 years before. Young Czech men dress like World War II troops, a wreath is laid all three days but the teens in Pilsen’s five high schools carefully research the names of the 16th Armored … and they write soldier’s families, or survivors, of the names each student draws A PERSONAL THANK-YOU LETTER, this in 2021!

We’ve just learned a full 40% of our Marine Corps chooses not to take COVID vaccine and many other Americans have shied away. There are over 100,000 doses in Mississippi where there are no arms to put them. Yet in Pilsen, Czech Republic, there is a horrible uptake and – what if? – just for giggles, we were to show up with 250,000 doses of one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine and acknowledge the fact that for 3/4ths a century these humble people have never failed to lay a wreathe of thanks to the 16th Armored and the country from under whose flag they were sent?

Do you realize that in the blink of an eye we could tell the world that we rejoice at Pilsen’s never-ending gratitude? We could liberate Pilsen once again. It is a city the size of Chattanooga, about 60 miles west of Prague. Right now, the world laughs at us – the mightiest nation in the world whose clowns say we don’t need an ID to vote. Please, in rural Africa, the Gold Coast in Australia, the subway in Tokyo … all require an ID, but we’re so “woke” we’ll move the All-American game of baseball of Atlanta in a political protest anybody who ever requires an ID for anything finds laughable. Immediately world-famous brands Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines showed their prejudice in a race to judgement. I guarantee you the world has got us diagnosed as nuts.

Maybe if the majority of us could tell Pilsen’s pure-of-heart we applaud their great faithfulness, and that it is with joy we bring far better vaccines than the Chinese and Russian brands that the ever-stumbling Prime Minster Andrej Babis is trying to push on his people. Babis just fired his third health minister within the past year last week rather than realize shooting every messenger is a global admission of a dunce. Czechia’s people are dying at a record clip; we show up with a C-130 filled with nurses and life-saving vaccine and it’s a shot heard around the world.

The Russian and Chinese vaccines have not been approved by the European Union's drug regulator but what if, in the name of decency and because of those thank you notes that still come every year America would once again be the global nation to stand the tallest. Ironically, in your wildest dreams could you ever picture high school students in America matching the Pilsen kids’ hand-written notes?

Today’s Americans would never do anything like that, would we? But what if a teacher at Tyner or Hixson assigned a classroom of students a famous American who they most admire … Jonas Salk (polio), Teddy Roosevelt (president), Ulysses Grant (president), the late Allen Collins (Lead guitarist for the Lynyrd Skynyrd Band, whose fingers on a Gibson Firebird during ‘Freebird’ was a symphony), Warren Buffet (investment guru who is still alive,) Marilyn Monroe (actress), Oprah Winfrey (television) … or the school custodian, the librarian, the school nurse? How about the juvenile judge, Rob Philyaw, who just gave you a second chance, or the older guy who lives in the last house on the road, who just spent a month of afternoons to teach you how to throw a dipping curve ball?

For 76 years the people of Pilsen have never forgotten … but because COVID is on a European rage, it has been recently announced that this year’s festival will be virtual, the BBC’s renowned ‘Big Band’ won’t be playing Glenn Miller’s “Pardon me, boys … is that the Chattanooga Choo Choo!” and there will be films of the wreaths being presented. I’m saying nuts to that!

How’s this: In sincere gratitude to the people of Pilsen for honoring the United States Army, past, present, and future, we’re going to do our best to liberate our favorite Czech Republic city once again. Between May 6 thru May 8 there will be a concerted effort to vaccine 300,000 town citizens with the Johnson and Johnson one-dose vaccine. This endeavor will be guided by the U.S. Army command, with (many) certified medical personnel from our famed facilities in Germany processing the arrivals. All Pilsen residents … ahem! … must show valid photo identification … ahem! … because it is anticipated there will be outsiders who have selfish motives, as Americans have experienced … ahem!

The vaccinations will be given at no charge, per the gratitude of the families of the United States armed forces veterans, who are well aware of the welcome and love that you extended to our “Fightin’ Armadillos.” On July 4th, we would ask that the “Convoy of Liberty” would roll through the streets before those who were vaccinated are welcomed to a gigantic spectacular featuring the bands and chorus of the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the newest U.S. Space Force. (Give me a while, and Coca-Cola might want a hand out of ‘the river of shame’ … how’s 12,000 cases sound, and we’ll teach the world to sing once again!

One of the most endearing lessons I have treasured is that … “If you love people, they will love you back.” And this one, too: “Never tell a soul you are a Christian – simply show ‘em”  

What cha say, President Biden … let’s liberate Pilsen one more time … You got to know, what a kick it would be!

/s/ Your boy, Roy


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