Croatia on August 5 celebrates the national holiday called Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day and Veterans Day. “Storm” is, along with “Flash”, a key operation that led to the end of the Homeland War. After four years of occupation of almost a third of Croatian territory, living in eternal fear of enemy retaliation, grenades that threatened day and night, numerous unsuccessful negotiations and initiatives, the Republic of Croatia had no choice but to liberate Croatian territory by its own armed forces. At dawn on August 4, 1995, it was time for “Storm”! It is a magnificent, great victory for the Croatian army, police forces, and the entire Croatian people. They realized a century-old dream of an independent and sovereign Croatian state.
The town of Knin – a symbol of victory
On this day 25 years ago, at 5 o’clock in the morning, the military-police Operation Storm (Oluja) started. A total of 200,000 Croatian soldiers together with the police force had been liberated about 10,500 square kilometers of territory on a 630-kilometer-long battlefield in just 84 hours. The greatest success was achieved by members of the 4th and 7th Guards Brigades of the Croatian Army (Croatian: 7.gardijska Brigada – Pume), who liberated Knin on the morning of 5 August.
In general, that city was the center and symbol of the Serbian uprising until then. Exactly at noon, a 20-meter Croatian flag was flown in the Knin Fortress signaling the victorious advance of the Croatian Army in the most extensive liberating operation. Due to its strategic and symbolic significance, the day of the liberation of Knin was declared the Day of Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day, and then the Day of Croatian Veterans.
Battlefield long 600 kilometers
After the initial operation of the Croatian Air Force and the destroyed enemy communication systems and artillery preparations for military targets, the Croatian forces went into action at the same time from 30 directions on the 600-kilometer-long battlefield. The strike force on the main routes of attack was the Guards Brigades, assisted by the special police of the Ministry of the Interior and the Croatian Guards Association, as well as Home Guard and Reserve units. It was, in a tactical and strategic sense, a military operation that, thanks to its originality and success, will be studied by numerous military analysts.
- August 4th – Sveti Rok
- August 5th – Knin, Vrlika, Kijevo, Drnis, Zitnic, Benkovac, Gracac, Lovinac, Ljubovo, Saborsko, Plaski, Hrvatska Dubica …
- August 6th – Petrinja, Slunj, Kostajnica, Plitvice Lakes, Korenica, Obrovac, Glina …
- August 7th – Turanj, Tusilovic, Vojnic, Topusko, Gornji and Donji Lapac …
Operation Storm (VRO Oluja) – 5 minutes to remember
The almost six-minute video published by the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Croatia five years ago briefly describes the action of Operation Storm and the most important information.
Central celebration of the 25th anniversary of VRO Storm
The main celebration of Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day and Veterans Day every year is held in Knin with many festivities in memory of the event.
- 9:43h in Knin – The ceremony will begin with the ringing of Knin church bells, which symbolically marks the entry of HV members into the City of Knin during the VRO Storm. The program will continue at the Knin Fortress, which includes raising the flag of the Republic of Croatia, a minute of silence, reading the history of VRO Oluja, reading the names of dead and missing members, and firing 25 honorary platoons in memory of the 25th anniversary of Operation Storm.
- 10:15h on Dr. Ante Starčević Square in Knin – The program on the square begins with the laying of wreaths, the lighting of candles and the laying of 25 red roses on the monument to the Croatian victory “Storm 95” in memory of the dead and missing Croatian veterans in the VRO Storm. After that, there will be a prayer led by the Military Ordinary Msgr. Jure Bogdan. Also, high-ranking guests will give a speech. The program ends with a performance by the Acrobatic Group “The Wings of Storm“
- 11:30h in Knin – Holy Mass for the fallen, dead, and missing Croatian veterans in the Homeland War, led by Msgr. Marin Barišić, Archbishop of Split and Makarska will be held in the Church of Our Lady of the Great Croatian Baptismal Vow.
Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day – Homeland War Tours
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