Croatian President and Commander in Chief of the Croatian Armed Forces, Zoran Milanović, awarded berets to members of the 3rd Mechanized Battalion “Spiders” of the Croatian Army’s Mechanized Guards Brigade, during the swearing-in ceremony at the 4th Guards Brigade “Spiders” Barracks in Knin on Wednesday.
“One gets the chills upon hearing everything you promised, these are serious things. I have also taken the oath to the Croatian people and the Croatian state, twice. I take it more seriously every day and every day I ask myself where I could have done better and where I wasn’t up to the task. And where I was up to it. Do the same. That is my advice to you,” President Milanović said after the swearing-in ceremony and the awarding of berets.
“I came this morning from Kijevo, a nearby village that every person in Croatia has heard of, where thirty years ago a group of very brave, determined people came to defend a police station. (They came) to show that Croatia is there and that the Croatian flag is flying there, regardless of the fact that they knew that there was a hundred times bigger force in their immediate vicinity at the time – but not for long – and that conflicts with that force were destined for defeat. Such courage seems unreal even today, but thirty years ago it seemed even more unreal,” said the President.
Speaking about the army, the President of the Republic and Commander in Chief of the Croatian Armed Forces said that the purpose of the armed forces was above all to defend the Croatian homeland, the land and sea. “The Croatian Army, like you, will build careers through international institutions. Chances are that it will be like that and that there will be no wars, such as the one of thirty years ago. Times are different, your opportunities are different. Don’t stifle personal ambitions, aim for the highest and best for yourselves, for your families, for your unit and for your homeland – Croatia,” President Milanović exclaimed.
“Congratulations on this great day, on the irrevocable and far-reaching words you have spoken. Live according to them and love your homeland in that spirit,” said the President. “All Croatian citizens love their homeland and that is the only way for us to become what those people, who sacrificed themselves from 1991 to 1995, desired. We are not there yet. What we have in common is the desire for a strong, stable state that its people will be proud of – people who will not leave the country, except to develop professionally and go for what is best and may not exist in Croatia. And the Croatian Army is one of the pillars of that civil, democratic state in which we live. Without the Croatian Army, there would be no Croatian state,” concluded the President of the Republic.
Apart from the President of the Republic and Commander in Chief of the Croatian Armed Forces Zoran Milanović, Croatian Minister of Defense Mario Banožić, Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces Admiral Robert Hranj and Commander of the Croatian Army Lieutenant General Boris Šerić also attended the ceremony.
Alongside President Milanović were Head of the Cabinet of the President of the Republic Bartol Šimunić, Adviser to the President of the Republic for Defense and National Security Dr. Dragan Lozančić and Special Adviser to the President of the Republic for Homeland War Veterans Marijan Mareković.