Zvolen/Štúrovo, September 17, 2022. An international event called the “Tree of Peace Cycling Relay” started today at the Central Military Cemetery of the Romanian Royal Army in Zvolen, Slovakia. It is an event organized by an international team led by the General Staff of the Romanian Armed Forces and soldiers from the Invictus Romania cycling team, together with the NGO Servare et Manere, the Slovak Armed Forces and the Armed Forces of Hungary. The event is organized on September 21, 2022, on the occasion of the International Day of Peace, when the 29th Tree of Peace will be planted in the Carol I Park (Romanian: Parcul Carol) in Bucharest, and the 18th country will be added to the World Map of Peace. The cycling relay follows the planting of the memorial Tree of Peace at the Royal Romanian Army Cemetery, which was planted on November 9, 2021 by His Royal Highness Prince Radu, the husband of Margareta, Custodian of the Crown of Romania, the eldest daughter of the last Romanian King Michael I (1921 – 2017). Last year’s event, which was part of the celebrations of the Centenary of the birth of King Michael I of Romania, was attended by numerous representatives of the Slovak Armed Forces, a delegation from the Ministry of Defense of the Slovak Republic, as well as the Romanian Ambassador to Slovakia and the delegation from Romanian Ministry of Defense.
The start of the Tree of Peace Cycling Relay was opened at the Romanian Monument at the Royal Romanian Army Cemetery. The organizers, with the participation of cyclists and members of the Slovak Armed Forces, honoured not only Romanian, but also all soldiers who put their lives in the fight for freedom and democracy. After playing the national anthems of Romania and Slovakia, Lt. Col. Martin Macko from the 81st Tactical Wing Sliač on behalf of the Chief of the General Staff of the Slovak Armed Forces lays a wreath at the Monument of the Romanian Army. Dr. Marek Sobola, Secretary-General of the association, laid a wreath for Servare et Manere, who addressed the guests on behalf of Călin Fabian, the Romanian Ambassador to Slovakia.
“It is a distinct privilege for me to speak at this prominent gathering, which aims to promote peace and good neighborly relations in a very innovative way. I consider this 1,000-kilometer cycling relay as a supporting successor to the traditional interstate cooperation. It is an excellent opportunity for better knowledge, understanding and mutual tolerance”, said Sobola on behalf of the Romanian Ambassador. The memorial service was ended by the Staff Chaplain Lt. Dominik Jáger from the 81st Tactical Wing Sliač with a prayer for all fallen soldiers. Military Music and the Honour Guard of the Slovak Armed Forces under the command of Lt. Col. Ján Polák added a special dignity to the event.
The Tree of Peace Cycling Relay will take place from 17th to 20th September and soldiers from Great Britain, Ukraine and Romanian soldiers from the Invictus Romania and Ukraine team will participate in it. The story of Invictus Romania began in 2014, when a group of military and civilian volunteers was inspired by the organization of the first Invictus Games in London, realized under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex. The goal of the peace relay, in addition to planting a memorial tree, is also a presentation of friendship between nations, cohesion, courage and tenacity, because among the cyclists there are also physically handicapped soldiers who were injured during military missions. Even in this way, the international team of amateur cyclists wants to point out the importance of peace in times when Europe and many countries of the world are affected by war. The activity is an opportunity to support world peace through sport and a reminder of the peace mission of wounded soldiers who did not give up and overcame the most difficult moments of their lives.
The last stop of the Slovak stage, which was accompanied by police officers from the PUMA Special Police Traffic Department, was Štúrovo, where the Mayor provided refreshments for all participants of the cycling relay. A Hungarian military police vehicle will accompany her on the Hungarian section. The route will continue through Budapest, Arad and Sibiu to Bucharest, where another Tree of Peace will be symbolically planted in the presence of the Slovak Ambassador to Romania, representatives of Servare et Manere and the Romanian Armed Forces. A special moment of planting will be the participation of children whose fathers and mothers put their lives in foreign military missions. Their participation will be a gesture of hope for a better future in peace. The Slovak stage ended on Saturday, September 17th at half past three in the afternoon with the crossing of the state border with Hungary. Servare et Manere would like to thank the Slovak Armed Forces, police officers of the Special Police Traffic Department, the Romanian Embassy in Slovakia and the Štúrovo town for their organizational assistance.