Brookwood, Wednesday, December 4, 2019. After the meeting of NATO leaders near London, the President of the Slovak Republic, Zuzana Čaputová, visited a cemetery in Brookwood, to honour the memory of Czechoslovak veterans, who fought with the Allies during the WWII. Peter Gajdoš, Minister of Defence of the Slovak Republic, was also a member in the delegation of the President. The Slovak Ambassador Ľubomír Rehák and the Defence Attaché of the Slovak Republic, Colonel Ján Goceliak welcomed them on the cemetery. Mrs. Gerry Manolas Chair of the Memorial Association for Free Czechoslovak Veterans in the United Kingdom gave a speech to the honoured guests. Mrs. Manolas presented the work of this organization dedicated to the memory of Czechoslovak Veterans buried at the Brookwood Military Cemetery.
With the assistance of the honour guard, the President laid wreath to the Czechoslovak Veterans Memorial. Afterwards the President moved to planting a memorial tree in the private part of the cemetery, where other Czechoslovak Veterans and their descendants are buried. The President Zuzana Čaputová, together with the Minister of Defence and participating diplomats, planted the 13th Tree of Peace with Marek Sobola, the author of the project. The commemorative Lime tree in the ‘Greenspire’ variety (Tilia cordata ‘Greenspire’) symbolizes the memory and remembrance of all unknown soldiers who died in global war conflicts. It also symbolizes the Slovak origin of the project. After planting, Marek Sobola thanked the President for the honour she showed to the project by her personal participation. He also handed her a Tree of Peace Memorial Plaque with the number 001, which is identical to the plaque on the metal memorial pillar next to the Tree of Peace. This plaque is a unifying element of the whole project and is located at every planted tree. It has a uniform design in all partner countries since 2019. It was minted at Kremnica Mint and its author is Marek Sobola. Zuzana Čaputová planted her first tree in Brookwood as a head of state.
Civic association Servare et Manere, in this way, expresses the highest gratitude which, furthermore, may be granted to the Heads of the States, who are personally involved in planting, or people who have made a special contribution to spreading ideas of understanding and union among nations, as well as have made a major contribution to the spreading and implementation of the project at home or abroad. The second Tree of Peace Memorial Plaque was donated to Ľubomír Rehák, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Slovak Republic to the Court of St. James´s in London.
So far, thirteen Peace Trees have been planted in important places regarding military and world history, such as The National WWI Museum and Memorial of the United States in Kansas City, The Imperial Villa in Bad Ischl (Kaiservilla), The Monument to the victims of the 71st Trenčín Infantry Regiment in Kragujevac, The Monument to the Battle of the Nations in Leipzig (Völkerschlachtdenkmal), or the palace complex of the Tsarskoe Selo State Museum in St. Petersburg. Six trees have been planted in Slovakia and others in Germany, Serbia, Austria, Poland, Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom. Reportage about this event was carried out by the Rádio Slovakia International (Rozhlas a televízia Slovenska).