ZAGREB, Aug 5, 2020 – Retired lieutenant general Ante Gotovina said during the celebration of the 25th anniversary of Operation Storm in Knin on Wednesday, that by learning lessons from the past Croatians have become stronger and better people, ready to think optimistically and work today for a better tomorrow.
Speaking as a representative of veterans, he congratulated those present and underscored that Operation Storm, which took place a quarter of a century ago, had determined the country’s future and marked the beginning of the end of the war and the establishment of peace.
“The courage, sacrifice, determination, and unity of our people from the start of the Homeland War and under the leadership of the first Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, wartime defence minister Gojko Susak and all the commanders of the General Staff were crucial for us to build a Croatian army is particularly unfavourable and difficult war circumstances, ready and capable of defending itself, putting an end to an imposed war and creating preconditions for lasting peace,” said Gotovina.
Horrors of war in the collective conscience of the people and foundation of Croatian statehood
Gotovina added that the horrors of war and years of suffering of innocent people, the sacrifice of young soldiers, and those who lost their lives and health, were part of the collective conscience of the Croatian people, having been built into the foundations of Croatian statehood.
“It is with pride and sorrow that we remember our friends, fallen and deceased comrades in arms. I greet you, dear families, with profound respect,” he said.
Gotovina said that 25 years of living in peace and security, Croatia is developing into a modern European democracy, a socially just state that cares for the smallest and most needy, a state in which all people, regardless of their differences, enjoy safety and freedom, equal rights and equal obligations.
“With the unity of all of us, from the first at the helm to the smallest, we will achieve the objectives and know how to respond to all the challenges of the time that we live in,” concluded Gotovina.
Asked by reporters later to say why members of wartime HOS forces and some other war units were not allowed to attend the ceremony in the main square in Knin, Gotovina said that “discipline has to exist in everything, even in freedom.”
Asked whether he was glad that Deputy Prime Minister Boris Milosevic from the ranks of the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) had attended today’s event, Gotovina said that the celebration was dignified and “that is good.”