President Milanović Attends 30th Anniversary Ceremony of Osijek Independent Air Force Platoon
The President of the Republic and Commander in Chief of the Croatian Armed Forces Zoran Milanović attended a ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of the founding of the “Osijek Independent Air Force Platoon” at the Osijek-Čepin Sports airfield.
“Thirty years ago yesterday Croatia declared independence. We had statehood from the seventh or tenth century, then lost it, but it had always been preserved in the nucleus of our institutions, the Croatian Parliament. However, we achieved independence for the first time on 8th October 1991, which is also the founding day of the Independent Air Force Platoon”, President Milanović said in his address to the participants of the ceremony recalling the importance of the Declaration of Independence.
Moreover, he repeated that in 1991 Croatia was defended by a small number of people in units and battalions which included hundreds, perhaps a thousand or so defenders. “Those who defended Croatia from attack, a savage, murderous attack, are the few and far between. And those who flew such airplanes or such aircraft are a special kind of people of whom I can only speak with awe”, President Milanović said, adding that the damage that could have been inflicted to the enemy was more symbolic and an issue of morale, since the enemy was powerful and well equipped.
“This was incredibly brave. A fact is often disregarded that up to the modern times in armed conflicts it had been mostly pilots who perished, the percentage of pilots killed was the highest. This must be known and repeated but not for others to write our history. We know what the truth is, we know that Croatia was defended, when it was the hardest, by a small number of good people. We have to tell this to our children because we, and especially you who had weapons, we know it very well, and you know it even better. And those of you present, who weren’t born at that time, who are growing up, who wish to and I hope will stay in our country, who want to build it, it is a point of honour and the culture of the heart, of us as a nation, as people, as citizens, if you wish Christians or worshipers of any other faith”, the President of the Republic Commander in Chief of the Croatian Armed Forces said in concluding his address.
Also speaking at the ceremony was the envoy of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Croatian Defenders Sanja Ivković, Osijek-Baranja County Prefect Ivan Anušić, Osijek Mayor Ivan Radić, Deputy Commander of the Osijek Independent Air Force Platoon Capt. Željko Radoš, and President of the Osijek Aero Club Marin Kordić.
On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Osijek Independent Air Force Platoon, the President of the Republic and Commander in Chief of the Croatian Armed Forces laid a wreath and lit a candle in honour of all the fallen, deceased and missing Croatian defenders at the “Krilo” (Wing) Memorial. Alongside President Milanović were the Commander of the Croatian Air Force and Air Defense Brigadier General Michael Križanec, Special Adviser to the President for Homeland War Veterans Marijan Mareković, and Assistant Head of the Cabinet of the President Goran Grobotek.
PHOTO: Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia / Filip Glas