In a blog post, U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic Norman L. Eisen remarked upon his experience at the naming of the Cermak School in Prague. He wrote:
“The sun was shining and children were singing in Prague today as I attended the renaming ceremony of an elementary school in my own backyard. The newly-named “Antonín Čermák Elementary School” is located just blocks from my residence in the Bubenec neighborhood of Prague 6. In attendance at the ceremony today was Marie Kousalíková, Mayor of Prague 6 and a very special guest Anton Cermak Kerner, the grandson of the man honored.
Antonín Čermák is probably the most famous Czech-American politican. In 1931, he was elected as Mayor of the great city of Chicago. The current Mayor of Chicago and my friend Rahm Emanuel sent a taped message to honor the day.
Čermák embodies the idea of the American dream. He was born in Czechoslovakia and his parents immigrated to the United States before his first birthday. He worked in coal mines in Illinois along side his father and even sold firewood from a wagon before building himself into a successful businessman. Čermák has a lot in common with another politician from Chicago, President Barack Obama. They both started their political lives in the Illinois State government, Čermák in 1902 and President Obama 94 years later in 1996.
Today we honored a man, not only for how he lived, but also how he died. Čermák died during an assassination attempt on president elect Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933. His grandson and others celebrate his life and Kerner even provided the school with a unique gift, the only known color photograph of Čermák and then Czechoslovak President Tomas G. Masaryk.
I was honored and proud to be a part of this celebration.”
To read other blog entries from Ambassador Eisen, visit his blog at blogs.usembassy.gov/eisen.