One of the most significant events during my lifetime is known as the Velvet Revolution that took place in what was then Czechoslovakia in 1989 and ended over 40 years of communist rule without a shot being fired, which followed a period of spiritual awakening in that country. Adding to the personal significance is the fact that my grandfather came to the United States of America from Czechoslovakia in 1907 in the month that my father was born in this country. The Velvet Revolution inspired me to be on the lookout for situations where spiritual ideas provided a significant focus to drive human history. Until recently I did not appreciate the role that Vaclav Havel had played in the Velvet Revolution and other events still playing out in the world today.
Initially Havel was a part of the Prague Spring that took place in 1968 and ended with Russian tanks rolling into Czechoslovakia to shut it down the open expression of artist and political freedom that were breaking in and around Prague. I was in college at the time and since my grandfather was from Czechoslovakia, I thought seriously about going over to fight the imposition of a repressive regime. For a variety of reasons I did not go, but my heart I was with the spirit of the Prague Spring.