(Photo: HRT) (Photo: HRT)

Exactly 28 years ago, on May 28th, 1991, some eight-hundred soldiers and police gathered at the football stadium on Kranjčević Street in Zagreb for a public parade as the newly-formed Croatian National Guard - the precursor to the modern Croatian Armed Forces.

A special event took place on Tuesday afternoon at Zagreb's Lisinski Music Hall which gathered, among others, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, the Supreme Commander of the Croatian Armed Forces, Defence Minister Damir Krstičević, the Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces, General Mirko Šundov, and Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković.

"Even though in the very beginning we were poorly equipped and often times armed only with your love of the Homeland and the unbreakable Croatian spirit, the Croatian Army defended and freed Croatia during the Homeland War," said President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović. "Today, it's with special pride that we remember all those who gave their lives for our freedom. Our thoughts are with them and their families, the families of the missing, and with all Croatian veterans"

She added that the proud tradition of defending Croatia continues to this day, both domestically and internationally as a valued member of NATO.

"Dear members of the Croatian Army, you face many challenges ahead. Your eternal dedication to protecting Croatia knows no defeat. New security challenges dictate that you must always be evolving and learning new skills. I know that you will be up to any challenge, just like those who came before you or who fought alongside you during the Homeland War. You are bound by their memory," concluded the president.

Celebrations culminated after a whole week of events marking the momentous occasion across the country.

Source. HRT