In 1925 Plovdiv was preparing for a solemn celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Unification of Bulgaria. The feast was celebrated more than appropriately. In the early morning of September 19, the members of all patriotic, educational, sports and other organizations began to flock to the Unification Square, which together with the representative army units and the citizens of Plovdiv represented an impressive sight. The Chairman of the National Assembly Todor Kulev, ministers and deputies, as well as the Chief of the Sofia Garrison and Honorary Chairman of the Slivnitsa Society – General Lazarov arrived in Plovdiv especially for the anniversary.
After the opening speech, delivered by Andrei Lyapchev – one of the figures of the Unification and future Prime Minister of Bulgaria, the long-standing and respected Plovdiv teacher Kostadin Baltov handed Todor Kulev the act of laying the foundation stone for the future monument of the Unification. Speeches by the President of the National Assembly, Generals Bogdanov and Lazarov, as well as the revolutionary Ivan Andonov followed, and the solemn part ended with a ceremonial march of the troops.
Immediately afterwards, the celebration continued with a large-scale demonstration, led by the activists involved in the Unification of Bulgaria, as well as the veterans of the Shipka Epopee and the volunteers from Slivnitsa. Applauded by the many thousands of citizens, they headed to Tsar Simeon Square, where the official parade would be held.
At the same time in the Military Club began the sixth regular congress of the volunteers from Slivnitsa, which was attended by the veterans from Shipka, as well as activists of the Unification. The congress started, but at one point it was unexpectedly interrupted in a very patriotic way by the representatives of the Botev sports club.
This is how the incident was reported in the club’s “Botev List”:
“The volunteers from Shipka and the volunteers from Slivnitsa had a common gathering in Plovdiv. In thinned ranks, volunteers and volunteers headed to the military club, where the opening of the gathering would take place. Everyone had taken their seats in the theatre room of the club.
At that moment the chairman of the c. k. “Hristo Botev” , accompanied by the flag-bearer and two assistants young sportsmen in neat sports uniform with waving flag, entered to them. Everyone turned their heads in surprise and gazed at the waving flag with the face of Hristo Botev. There was a momentary silence.
With brisk steps the young athletes took the lead and the president of the club announced that s. k. “Hristo Botev” has decided and proclaimed as its honorary members all surviving freedom fighters from the great epic of Shipka and the glorious Slivnitsa. Appropriate speeches were exchanged on the occasion and an artistically designed certificate of proclamation was presented to them as honorary members.
The moment was solemn. The white heads and bent bodies suddenly took on a cheerful look; they stood up, and for a moment in that look we felt them as if they were of those years when they had defended freedom on the rocks of Shipka and the peaks of Slivnitsa.
So s. k. “Hristo Botev” fulfilled a duty and testified its gratitude to those deserving Bulgarians of their homeland, who are from that era, during which in the struggle for freedom were inspired by the songs and the glory of the great poet and revolutionary Hristo Botev”.
The content of the artistically crafted deed, which “Botev” presented to its new honorary members, was as follows:
“To the volunteers at Slivnitsa – 1885-1925.
Dear volunteers, a fervent love reigns in your soul – the love for Bulgaria. One dream excites you – freedom. Your feat of 1885 is crowned with the halo of immortal glory and popular gratitude.
We feel especially happy and invaluably rewarded to be able to proclaim you at this solemn moment as our honorary members. In your faces we see only an example to follow.
Live, dear volunteers, for the glory and honor of our Fatherland!”
*Photo is illustrative