CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Memorial Day services returned to the Czech National Cemetery in Cedar Rapids after a long hiatus.
Related: See photos from Memorial Day 2022
Held inside Brosh Chapel at the cemetery, the event featured songs by the Czech Heritage Singers, accompanied on accordion by Darlene Suchomel and Bill Serbousek, and presentations by the Czech Royal Court.
Jeanne Vogt, president of the Czech National Cemetery board of directors, led the invocation and benediction, and a wreath was placed to honor fallen soldiers, with a Sokol wreath honoring the first person buried at the cemetery, Antonie Straka.
The Czech National Cemetery, 2200 C St. SW, in Cedar Rapids was established as the Bohemian Cemetery in 1895 and is managed by a volunteer board of directors.
After years outdoors at the Czech National Cemetery, the Memorial Day services moved in more recent years to the St. Wenceslaus Glovik Parish Center and returned this year to its origins, but indoors.
During her keynote address, Cecilia Rokusek, president and CEO of the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, cited Czech and Slovak immigrants who gave their lives in wartime.
The Czech Royal Court’s King Lars Landa, read the poem “Fallen Soldiers,” while co-King Davis Robe sang a stirring rendition of “Proud to be an American.”
As is tradition at many Czech events, kolaches were served after the ceremony.
Like other area cemeteries, Czech National Cemetery was devastated by Iowa’s hurricane-strength derecho in August 2020. See photos from the aftermath of the derecho and more from the 2023 Memorial Day Services, below: