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Police officers in Pilsen, Czech Republic, carry flowers to the city's monument to the American Army 2nd Infantry Division, Friday, May 5, 2017. The city of Pilsen annually celebrates the American liberation of their city in May.
Police officers in Pilsen, Czech Republic, carry flowers to the city's monument to the American Army 2nd Infantry Division, Friday, May 5, 2017. The city of Pilsen annually celebrates the American liberation of their city in May. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)
Police officers in Pilsen, Czech Republic, carry flowers to the city's monument to the American Army 2nd Infantry Division, Friday, May 5, 2017. The city of Pilsen annually celebrates the American liberation of their city in May.
Police officers in Pilsen, Czech Republic, carry flowers to the city's monument to the American Army 2nd Infantry Division, Friday, May 5, 2017. The city of Pilsen annually celebrates the American liberation of their city in May. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)
An American flag hanging at the entrance to the Great Synagogue of Pilsen, Czech Republic, Friday, May 5, 2017. The city of Pilsen celebrates the American liberation of their city during World War II with more than a dozen memorials and hundreds of flags throughout the city.
An American flag hanging at the entrance to the Great Synagogue of Pilsen, Czech Republic, Friday, May 5, 2017. The city of Pilsen celebrates the American liberation of their city during World War II with more than a dozen memorials and hundreds of flags throughout the city. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)
Czech citizens learn about the history of the WWII liberation of Pilsen, Czech Republic, on Friday, May 5, 2017. During the Liberation Festival Pilsen, informative plaques are set up around the city.
Czech citizens learn about the history of the WWII liberation of Pilsen, Czech Republic, on Friday, May 5, 2017. During the Liberation Festival Pilsen, informative plaques are set up around the city. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)
Czech citizens proudly display American and Czech flags during the Liberation Festival Pilsen, Friday, May 5, 2017. The festival celebrates the American liberation of the city at the end of World War II.
Czech citizens proudly display American and Czech flags during the Liberation Festival Pilsen, Friday, May 5, 2017. The festival celebrates the American liberation of the city at the end of World War II. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)
In honor of the American liberation of Pilsen, Czech Republic, during World War II, re-enactors dress up as American soldiers during the Liberation Festival Pilsen, Friday, May 5, 2017.
In honor of the American liberation of Pilsen, Czech Republic, during World War II, re-enactors dress up as American soldiers during the Liberation Festival Pilsen, Friday, May 5, 2017. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)
Czech citizens carrying American flags gather to watch a memorial to American soldiers, during the Liberation Festival Pilsen, Friday, May 5, 2017.
Czech citizens carrying American flags gather to watch a memorial to American soldiers, during the Liberation Festival Pilsen, Friday, May 5, 2017. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)
A Czech police officer carries flowers to a memorial to the American 2nd Infantry Division, during the Liberation Festival Pilsen, Friday, May 5, 2017. Behind him, re-enactors are dressed as U.S. Marines to honor the Marines who were originally part of the U.S. Army's 2nd Infantry Division.
A Czech police officer carries flowers to a memorial to the American 2nd Infantry Division, during the Liberation Festival Pilsen, Friday, May 5, 2017. Behind him, re-enactors are dressed as U.S. Marines to honor the Marines who were originally part of the U.S. Army's 2nd Infantry Division. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)

PILSEN, Czech Republic – The western Czech Republic city of Pilsen is celebrating the 72nd anniversary of the city’s liberation by American troops during World War II.

During the May 5-8 festivities, more than a dozen memorials are being held to honor the memory of the American soldiers who fought under Gen. George. S. Patton to free the city from German occupation in May 1945.

The city, known for being the birthplace of pilsner beer, is adorned with hundreds of U.S. flags along the main streets and monuments, including the General George S. Patton Memorial Museum, which opened in 2005.

Vladislav Vojtech, dressed as a WWII-era U.S. soldier, said the celebration is especially important because under Soviet occupation, the Czech people were not allowed to talk about the American involvement in liberating their country.

“In schools, they told us only (the Soviets) liberated Pilsen, but my family knew the truth,” said Vojtech. “This is a big celebration for us. I’m happy to remember the American soldiers.”

Pilsen is showcasing both modern American military gear and World War II equipment at events throughout the city, and a live concert featuring American music is playing all weekend near the city’s cathedral.

egnash.martin@stripes.com Twitter: @Marty_Stripes

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