Washingtonians have a close relationship with the late U.S. president Woodrow Wilson. Maybe it’s because Wilson continued to live in Washington afterwards (you can still tour his home) and is the only president to be buried in the District at the National Cathedral. The Wilson Bridge south of town is a major transportation link between Maryland and Virginia. Wilson’s name was even retained for the replacement bridge in 2008.
But Wilson is a rock star in Prague, Czechoslovakia. A new statue was recently erected to replace one destroyed by Nazis during World War II.
Think about that – 70 years after destroyed, people a generation or two removed still care enough about the man who supported their independence. Indeed, Wilson was called the “foster father” of the Czech Republic.
The original 11-foot statue was modeled after Wilson’s arrival in Versailles during the World War I peace conference. It stood across the rail station also named for Wilson from 1928-41. The statue was destroyed by the Germans on Dec. 11, 1941 when the U.S. declared war on Japan four days after the latter attacked Pearl Harbor.
The American Friends of the Czech Republic based in Washington spearheaded the new statue. It’s considered a companion peace to the statue of Czech president Tomas Masaryk on Massachusetts Ave. along Embassy Row.