Today marks 12 years since the death of the first president of the Czech Republic, Václav Havel. He died on December 18, 2011 at his cottage in Hrádečka near Trutnov. By the fence of the cottage, which the ex-president owned since the 1960s, candles have been increasing since morning, with which people want to honor Havel’s memory.
“I am here for the fifth time. For me, Václav Havel meant moral values, the end of the former regime, but also what our civilization stands on. I miss him,” said Tomáš Vyhnálek from Olomouc, who came with his friend, Pavel Němec from Pardubice, to the Seznam Zpráv reporter.
Martin Věchet, the organizer of the Trutnoff Open Air music festival, which Václav Havel was the head of, will also arrive a little after them. “I miss him a lot,” admits Věchet, while attaching a poster to the fence with photos from 2008, when Havel last attended the festival. He also writes on it with a black felt-tip pen: “Thank you for everything, chief… you’re missing.”
Before he left for Hrádeček, he was said to remember Havel in the morning. “Just today I was thinking that he was basically a punk who over time gained a natural respect from the world’s politicians. His visions didn’t have an immediate impact, but he was always a step or several steps ahead. And his vision still shines for us today,” thought Věchet, who returned the festival to Trutnov again this year.
According to him, Havel was a very kind person. That’s exactly how he got to know him even before 1989, when he started going to Hrádeček to see him. As a seventeen-year-old then. “I always came here feeling tight, but it went away right after the goal,” says Věchet, alluding to the fact that Václav and Olga Havel’s cottage was constantly being watched by the Estebians.
“I still remember those days, they had that maringotka over there,” interjects Vlastimil Pilous, who also came to the fence to light a candle. The publicist and now-retired geomorphologist of the Krkonoše National Park is connected with Havel by a number of memories and thoughts.
“He could outwit himself”
He said he thought about the last one recently when looking at the political situation. “Mr. Havel was a miracle. I recently heard his reflection, in which he said that he had been guarding himself all his life so as not to make a fool of himself in office. He was afraid of falling for it. I have not met a politician in the whole world who would say this. Havel was able to coach himself and had doubts about himself,” Pilous described the idea with which he came to Hrádeček on Monday.
Tomáš Vyhnálek and Pavel Němec also thought about Václav Havel’s visions. Both are machine enthusiasts and took a trip by train combined with a hike around Hrádeček. “I think that Mr. President would appeal to us at this time to recover and stand up to the evil that is beginning to surround us. We are stuck in our well-being and do not perceive the danger that is beginning to threaten us. And close enough. I don’t mean only Russia, but also the changes in Slovakia and Hungary,” said Vyhnálek.
Věchet goes to Hrádeček regularly just to remember. The last time he was inside was in 2011, when Václav Havel was still alive. “We planted that boxwood together back then. With him and another homeless man. Buxus is still doing well, I’m happy about that,” Věchet points to a green bush through the entrance gate, which reminds him of one of his last meetings with the president.