The Croatian Independence Day was formally marked in the St Marks Square in Zagreb on 8 October 2019.
The ceremony was attended by the President of the Republic and Supreme Commander of the Croatian Armed Forces Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, by the Speaker of the Croatian Parliament Gordan Jandroković, by the Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, by the Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Damir Krstičević, by the Deputy Chief of the General Staff Lieutenant General Drago Matanović, by the Military Diplomatic Corps and other senior government and military officials.
The ceremonial programme, opened by the Grand Changing of the Guards by the Honorary Battalion, was observed by numerous visitors at the St. Mark’s Square.
Prime Minister Plenković: “We are commemorating the Croatian defenders who brought freedom to the later generations”.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenković congratulated on the Croatian Independence Day and recalled the historic decision of the Croatian Parliament to sever all constitutional ties with the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and stated:
“We are remembering the first President of Croatia and then government , and the heroism of Croatian defenders who sacrified their lives for the country’s freedom, territorial integrity and peace in a well-organised country, that has over the past decades fulfilled all strategic national missions and become a respected member of the international community, of NATO and the EU.
“It is our mission to manage Croatia for the benefit of its citizens, create conditions for economic prosperity and social inclusion, procure development-oriented solutions to issues and enable good lives to all citizens“, said the Prime Minister.
Minister Krstičević stated: “It is our obligation to build future for Croatia on the values of the Homeland War, which is the foundation of modern state of Croatia“.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Damir Krstičević extended his congratulations on the Independence Day and gratitude to Croatian defenders and heroes of the Homeland War for their merit for the free and independent state of Croatia.
Minister Krstičević said: “Croatia gained hard its independence and autonomy thanks to the sacrifice of thousands of defenders. We have to build its future based on the values on the Homeland War “.
We have to bring up future generations and provide them with new opportunities in their country, nurturing the memory of the Homeland War as its foundations“.
The Minister praised the Croatian Independence Day marked with a ceremonial drill by the Honorary Battalion, returned to the St. Mark’s Square after 17 years by the decision of the present Government.
The Grand Changing of the Guard is performed by the Honorary Battalion on Saturdays and holidays from May through October. Its goal is to promote traditional values, bring the Croatian Armed Forces closer to the people and to promote the military profession, the City of Zagreb and Croatia as a whole. The Grand Changing of the Guard was first performed on 30 May 1991.
The programme featured performances by the Orchestra of the Croatian Armed Forces and by soloists Đani Stipaničev and Dražen Žanko.
The delegations of the Parliament and Government laid wreaths at the Mirogoj Cemetery, at the Central Cross in the Alley of fallen Croatian Defenders, at the tomb of the first Croatian President Franjo Tuđman and at the common grave of unidentified victims of the Homeland War at the Crematorium.
A mass was recited in St Mark-s Church by theRev. Vladimir Magić , the priest of the parish of St Mark.