In 2007 my wife and I served in Plzen, Czech Republic. As a Fulbright Scholar I taught history at the University of West Bohemia in Plzen. We cherish that time, to this day; the people we met and the travels to other countries as well as all around the Czech Republic, a once in a lifetime experience for us. We were invited to visit the George Patton Museum in Plzen and while there my wife saw a picture of her father (he had died a few weeks earlier back in the states). She remembered stories he told about his army division liberating a town in Czechoslovakia but couldn’t remember the name. Well, there he was. She cried and smiled all at one time. This story hit all the newspapers in the country; an American Fulbright whose father-in-law liberated their country! We were invited to the May Liberation Day celebration, celebrating the month the Americans liberated them, and we were honored to meet our U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic and the mayor of the town. The mayor honored my wife with a presentation of gifts for her, and her mother, to thank them for her dad “liberating my town and my people”. I was honored to be a Fulbright Scholar, to represent our country, and I will never forget the people, the travel experiences and memories of my time there. I still share these stories with my history students today.
Anthony “Tony” Baltakis – Fulbright to Czech Republic 2007