U.S. congressional leaders honored the late Czech president, author and freedom fighter Vaclav Havel at a time when his country was marking the 25th anniversary of its anti-communist protests that eventually led to democracy. A bust of Havel was unveiled in the U.S. Capitol in November 2014. Havel's widow, Dagmar, Zdenek and Michaela Bakala, and Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka attended the ceremony, hosted by Speaker of the House John Boehner.
The bust of the late Czech president is placed alongside those of other eminent leaders in Statuary Hall -- Britain's Winston Churchill, Sweden's Raoul Wallenberg, America's Martin Luther King Jr. and others.
"He was a writer who exposed the communists, using the one weapon that they couldn’t match, and that was the truth. For this he received three stays in prison, countless interrogations, and constant surveillance, but he kept on writing, hiding pages of his manuscripts throughout his home. Offered a chance to flee to the West, he refused in saying ‘I’m simply a Czech bumpkin through and through,’” said Boehner.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Havel's leadership served as an example to people everywhere in the world striving for democracy and human rights, notably in China and its Tibet region.
"President Havel was a defender of freedom, a champion of human rights and an apostle of hope. He wrote plays, and penned a charter of reform. He spoke out for democracy and crafted a new chapter of progress for his country and his continent, for people worldwide and for generations to come," said Pelosi.