The central marking of the Croatian Army and the Croatian Armed Forces Day and…
Croatian Armed Forces Day and Croatian Army Day were observed at the Vatroslav Lisinski Concert Hall on 28th May. The ceremony was attended by the President of the Republic of Croatia and the Commander-in-Chief of the Croatian Armed Forces Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović; the Speaker of the Croatian Parliament Gordan Jandroković; Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence Damir Krstičević, who acted as an envoy of Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković; the Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces General Mirko Šundov; the Commander of the Croatian Army Major General Siniša Jurković; numerous members of the Government of the Republic of Croatia, members of the Croatian Parliament, family members of deceased and missing Homeland War (1991-1995) veterans, the representatives of Homeland War veterans’ associations and many more.
During the ceremony, awards were handed out to the most successful competitors at “Major Davor Jović Memorial – First for Croatia 2019”: Private Mara Pejić received an HS 2000 pistol for being the most successful female from the Croatian Armed Forces at the competition, while Corporal Nikola Knežević, as the best male from the Croatian Armed Forces and the overall winner of the competition, received a pistol and a badge with the inscription “Fittest Member of the Croatian Armed Forces”.
In her speech, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović wished soldiers a happy Croatian Armed Forces and Croatian Army Day, both of which were an occasion for recalling the establishment of the Croatian Armed Forces 28 years earlier. „Thank you for your service to Croatia, our homeland. Every day, you serve it honourably and unpretentiously by carrying out your routine tasks, developing your capabilities, participating in peace-support operation and missions as well as assisting the civil population. We assign you with all these tasks with full trust, which you have never failed in the last 28 years,” the President said, pointing out that the results of many research studies had shown that the Croatian people trusted the Croatian Armed Forces more than any other institution. “May this be to your credit and may it motivate you to uphold your exemplary service and strive for excellence in all tasks with even more determination,” the President underlined.
The Speaker of the Croatian Parliament recalled the inception of the contemporary Croatian Armed Forces on 28th May 1991, when four brigades of the Croatian National Guard lined up at the stadium on Silvije Strahimir Kranjčević Street in Zagreb. “The Homeland War is the foundation of our country and we are eternally grateful to the veterans of that war for the sacrifice they made for their homeland,” concluded Gordan Jandroković, emphasizing that the Croatian Armed Forces have since reached the status of a committed and trustworthy NATO partner that is ready to respond to any challenge.
At the start of the ceremony, Minister Krstičević said: “By celebrating the anniversary of the Croatian Armed Forces’ establishment with such pride and dignity, we cherish the memories and values woven into the foundations of our homeland.”
Krstičević also recalled the Croatian Armed Forces’ accomplishments in the period of their inception and growth and pointed out: “The way in which the Croatian Armed Forces were created is one of a kind.”
The Minister of Defence further recalled the Croatian people’s millenarian dream, which the combatants in the Homeland War realized, but for a high price. “We cherish the memories of the combatants and their values, which are woven into the foundations of our homeland,” Krstičević said. In the continuation of his speech, Minister Krstičević highlighted the upward trend of investments into the modern Croatian Armed Forces and its advancement. These efforts include the restoration of previously revoked soldiers’ benefits, the reopening of barracks in towns so that the armed forces could be close to civilians, continued trainings and the acquisition of new capabilities. “We have restored the Croatian Armed Forces’ glory and dignity to level from the Homeland War,” Minister Krstičević concluded.
The Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces looked back on the illustrious path that the Croatian Armed Forces had gone down in the last 28 years by responding to all challenges. Also, he reminded of the role the Croatian Armed Forces played today. “In their homeland, the members of the Croatian Armed Forces are ready to assist the population at any given moment by responding to crises, fires, floods and earthquakes, offering emergency medical transportation and searching for missing persons at sea. This is what makes us recognizable. The Croatian people know that they can always rely on the Croatian Armed Forces. We are an important component of the Homeland Security System,” concluded General Mirko Šundov.
The ceremony featured a screening of a film about the Croatian Armed Forces’ development in the last 28 years as well as musical performances by renowned Croatian singer Miroslav Škoro, the Croatian Navy’s Vocal Ensemble Sveti Juraj (Saint George) and the Croatian Armed Forces Band.
Text by LADA PULJIZEVIĆ
Photo by JOSIP KOPI
Translation by IVA GUGO