After Two Years of Divisions, Vukovar Remembrance Day Marked With Unity

Total Croatia News

Croatia’s political leaders, from all sides of the political spectrum, gather to remember Vukovar.

This year, tens of thousands of people gathered in Vukovar for the Remembrance Day events without political divisions which marked the remembrance events during the last two years. This year, there was just one official procession, led by standard-bearers and children of fallen Croatian defenders of Vukovar. The procession included Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Prime Minister Zoran Milanović. Parliament Speaker Josip Leko, and HDZ president Tomislav Karamarko, reports Jutarnji List on November 18, 2015.

This time, everybody started from the courtyard of the Vukovar hospital – from where 24 years ago wounded Croatian soldiers and civilians were taken to be tortured and killed. The procession ended at the Memorial Cemetery. The procession consisted of thousands of people – pupils, students, veterans, the disabled, young and old from all over Croatia. Parliament Speaker Josip Leko said that the victim of Vukovar was a universal Croatian symbol of freedom. “The value of the Patriotic War, as well as the veterans, grows the more we move away from those years. Freedom and democracy are invaluable”, Leko said.

President Grabar-Kitarović was the only politician who received applause by the citizens. In the procession, she was accompanied by her former party colleagues, the Mayor of Vukovar Ivan Penava and Vukovar-Srijem County Prefect Božo Galić, as well as Speaker Leko and Minister of Veterans Predrag Matić. Prime Minister Milanović was about ten metres behind them. In the hospital courtyard, he shook hands with many people attending, among them the leaders of HDSSB led by Branimir Glavaš.

The Prime Minister was accompanied by numerous ministers and Deputy Prime Minister Vesna Pusić, as well as the former Mayor of Vukovar Željko Sabo. General Ante Gotovina also came to Vukovar and said that the victims of Vukovar, its people and defenders, “have built our country and democracy, and democracy is a privilege and a responsibility”.

Tomislav Karamarko stressed “a sense of reverence, respect for this city and the sacrifice it made for Croatian freedom. These are the victims who have fought and made Croatia. There are no divisions. Those who insist on divisions are not welcome here”, Karamarko said asked about the divisions in recent years and the fact this year he came to the hospital courtyard, although last year he remained outside the hospital. “In the last two years, I was with the people and veterans and I will always be with them. The people and the defenders were where they were, and we were there with them. It is absolutely good that this year there is only one procession”, Karamarko said.

Predrag Matić, Minister of Veterans, was also satisfied. “I hope that those who have in the past two years organized the infamous events and used them for political goals are today feeling sorry for what they did. If they truly are sorry, I forgive them more than half”, Matić said.

The procession ended at the Memorial Cemetery. It passed along the way next to a 210-metre long banner with the names of 1,145 people killed in Vukovar. At the cemetery, wreaths were laid and candles were lit, first by president, then the parliament speaker and then the prime minister.


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