The "Tuškanac" Barracks in Zagreb on 3 September hosted the ceremony marking the 15th Anniversary…
The 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Honour Guard Battalion and the Day of St Valentine’s Military Chaplainry was marked with the awarding of berets to the members of the Honour Guard Battalion at Barracks “1st Guards Corps” in Zagreb on 25th February.
The ceremony was attended by President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović as the Commander-in-Chief of the Croatian Armed Forces; the envoy of the Speaker of the Croatian Parliament Anđelko Stričak; Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Damir Krstičević as the Prime Minister’s envoy; as well as the Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces General Mirko Šundov and his associates.
For the first time, the members of the Guard Unit of the Slovenian Army took part in the ceremony on the occasion of the establishment of the Honour Guard Battalion. Just like the members of the Honour Guard Battalion, they also performed an exhibition drill.
In her speech, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović thanked the members of the Honour Guard Battalion for their dedication, their loyalty to their homeland and the courage that they demonstrate while carrying out their tasks. “I have to thank you not only as the President of the Republic of Croatia, but also as a human being. Thank you having understanding for my job and for immaculately carrying out all the tasks that we give you. I am aware of the fact that those tasks are often not simple. You are the image of the Croatian military tradition,” the President said.
Minister Krstičević pointed out that the Honour Guard Battalion, as a successor of the 1st Guards Corps, is a unit which has proven its worth in the combat for Croatian freedom. He emphasized that their uniforms have become a recognizable symbol to the Croatian public and diplomats around the world.
“You are the reflection of the Croatian Armed Forces. You shape people’s first impression of the Croatian Armed Forces. However, you are also an image of strength, capability and dexterity. Your presence at various ceremonies makes them more special. You always meet our expectations. I can proudly say that you have always been and continue to be an elite unit of the victorious Croatian Armed Forces,” Minister Krstičević said.
He continued to explain that contemporary security challenges have set a higher standard for security systems in comparison with 25 years earlier. For that reason, a well-trained and well-equipped Croatian soldier is a guarantee of stability and security. “An investment into defence and security is not expenditure, but an investment into the future, so that we can create a safe environment in which our nation and our homeland can prosper. Thanks to the decisions made by this government and the support from our President in the last two years, we have managed to secure the necessary financial means for the restoration of the Croatian Armed Forces’ glory,” Minister Krstičević said and concluded: “My wish is for the future generations to inherit a modern system that they can be proud of.”
While congratulating the Honour Guard Battalion on the 25th anniversary of their establishment, he told them that he was proud of their results, which proved that they were indeed an elite unit of the Croatian Armed Forces. “In this moment, it is with particular reverence that we recall all individuals who sacrificed their lives for their homeland. All deceased and missing members of the Croatian Armed Forces commit us to preserve their memory, the memory of their families’ sacrifice and the values they believed in,” General Šundov said.
The Commander of the Honour Guard Battalion Colonel Elvis Burčul said that the members of the battalion have proven that no training is needed for courage and that the Croatian soldier was a warrior in whom the Croatian people continuously renewed their trust. “Our mission and tasks force responsibility upon us. We have been conveying the victorious spirit of the Croatian Armed Forces for generations. Today, we are witnesses to the strength of the Honour Guard Battalion, an elite unit that develops and guards the Croatian identity. Their shiny uniforms are a reflection of the Croatian people’s history. Their objectives have to be authentic, while their personalities have to be imbued with strength and volition”, Colonel Burčul told the guests.
During the ceremony, the members of the Honour Guard Battalions were presented with awards, while their delegation laid a wreath and lit a candle on the memorial plaque dedicated to the fallen members of the 1st Guards Corps.
A memorial service for the deceased members of the Honour Guard Battalion as well as the deceased and missing Croatian defenders was served by retired Military Bishop Mons. Juraj Jezerinac.
The ceremony featured a musical performance by the Croatian Navy’s Vocal Ensemble “Sveti Juraj”.
Text by JELENA JAKŠIĆ
Photo by JOSIP KOPI
Translation by IVA GUGO