The Czechoslovak Review/Volume 1/Sokol Union of America

SOKOL UNION OF AMERICA.

An important event in the life of the Bohemians in America is the accomplishment of the long discussed union between the so-called blue Sokols and the red Sokols. Both organizations have for many years represented in the United States the principles embodied in the great Sokol (Falcon) movement which had its beginning in Bohemia in the sixties and has since spread into every Slav nation. The principles, or rather the spirit of the Sokols, one might sum up as patriotism, progress, energy, discipline, and the chief means by which these ideals are sought to be realized is strict physical training of the youth of both sexes. The Bohemian Sokols have produced from their ranks some of the best athletes of America.

In the old country nearly all the Sokol societies were linked together in the Bohemian Sokol Union. One of the first acts of the Austrian government after the outbreak of the war was the dissolution of the central organization and the gradual suppression of the local societies, for the Sokol training made itself felt on the battlefields, whereCzech soldiers who were members of this great Slav fellowship deserted in groups to the Russians and the Serbians. In America the Bohemian emigrants have had Sokol organizations almost as long as their brothers in the old fatherland; these were gathered into several national bodies. The strongest of them, the National Sokol Union, adopted the blue uniform for their members, while another strong body, known as the Zupa Fuegner Tyrs, adhered to the red uniforms as used in Bohemia. The Sokols have proved themselves the most energetic fighters in the cause of Bohemian independence, and it was the feeling that the times required the closest possible organization and co-operation on behalf of all the Czechs which brought about the union of these two bodies on the basis of freedom for each local society to select either the blue or the red uniform.

The Sokol Union of America which this month commences its existence will number more than 12,000 members with about 150 local societies, most of them possessing their own halls and paying their own physical instructors.