Celebration of the Day of Military Veterans
Today, Minsiter of Defence Aleksandar Vulin and Chief of General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces General Ljubiša Diković hosted a reception in the Great War Hall of the Old General Staff for representatives of military veterans. The ceremony was attended by State Secretaries in the Ministry of Defence, members of the boards of the minister of defence and Chief of General Starr of the Serbian Armed Forces, military veterans.
Addressing the present, the Minister Vulin said:
-This is the third time that we mark the Day of Veterans. Serbia has been waging wars for more than 100 years, and we are marking the day of our warriors for the third time. Serbia has been fighting for more than hundred years for its freedom, its right to decide and we are for the third time observing the day when we have got the veterans. It tells something about us, it tells something about the people that yearns for freedom; the people that has always been on the righteous side of the world; the people who never indeed made a mistake making its choices; the people that really never sided with the evil unlike some much larger, and powerful, and numerous countries, even when it looked like the evil was going to win and rule forever. This tells something about us and about the fact that whenever we listen to others, when we do not independently make decisions about ourselves, we live to be asked to forget. Then we live to be requested not to remember our history, and the people who created it. We live to have someone else writing their own truth and we have to accept their lies as our history.
Minister Vulin underlined that whenever others decided about us and wanted to write our history, we were presented in those histories as small and villains.
- Whenever others wrote our history and whenever others told us what to remember and what to think, they made our children feel ashamed of their fathers, their grandfathers and then they told them that every fight is futile and in fact wrong. And then they taught our children that every Serbian fight for freedom was in fact to costly and that every sacrifice made for the freedom was too great; And that everything that their ancestors had done in order to have the right to speak their own language and think in their country the way they do, to love it, cherish it, that everything was unnecessary and at too big a price – the minister of defence said and stressed:
- We think with our own head. This country, this state, this state leadership think with its head and that is why it has courage to call the things by the real name. And that is why it has courage and obligation to proudly remember all those who defended this country, who sacrificed their lives and health for it; all those who existed for her and owing to whom this country exists.
Vulin expressed gratitude, as he said, not only on behalf of the Ministry of Defence, on behalf of the members of the Serbian Armed Forces, but on behalf of every citizen of Serbia, on behalf of every Serb, wherever they lived.
- Today, I thank you on behalf of every human being who appreciates freedom because you won for us the right to autonomously decide about ourselves, about our destiny, to choose friends on our own. I thank you today on behalf of the people that have the right to remember, that have the right to be proud. I thank you on behalf of the people for whom you won the right to be free and on their own in their own country. The way this generation remembers the ones before it, and the way this state and this country remembers the ones who fought and won its freedom, that is going to be the way in which the future generations will remember us. The attitude towards our warriors has always been an indicator of the attitude towards our country, our state and our people. I thank you for your sacrifice, I thank you for being able to disregard, and somehow move aside the feelings when the stat was not fair and was not righteous when you were in question. Thank you for understanding that Serbia was more than politics and much higher, more valuable, stronger, precious than the instructions that we listened to when they told us that we should be ashamed of those who were defending and managed to defend this country. I congratulate this holiday to you. I wish that you celebrate it many more times, and above all, to be proud of your Serbia, as it is proud of each and every one of you – Minister Vulin said at the end of his address.
The present were also addressed by Colonel Slađan Ristić, Head of Department for Tradition, Standard and Veterans. He reminded that 4th December had been observed since 2015 in memory of the truce signed in 1912 in the First World War, when some 400 000 worriers of the Armed Forces of the Kingdom of Serbia became “old warriors” (while the modern term is “veterans”).
- This year as well, on 4th December, our great military holiday, dedicated to military veterans, preserving from oblivion we gather in all commands, units and establishments of the Ministry of Defence and Serbian Armed Forces, we rank the war units under the war and military flags, in the same ranks with wartime and peacetime commanders, soldiers and military veterans who honourably and devotedly served their fatherland. We conduct the roll-calls and read their names, the names of the best ones who are no longer with us. We visit memorials, lay wreaths together with our friends, military veterans and with their descendants and families we organise receptions, sport events and competitions. We open exhibitions and memorial rooms, organise lectures and evoke the memories of their heroic deeds, feats and events, we publish books, monographs, records, we award recognitions to the most deserving, and with dignity celebrate deserved retirement of our war friends and colleagues, organise commemorative ceremonies – Colonel Slađan Ristić underlined.
On the occasion of observing the Day of military veterans, a delegation of the Ministry of Defence and Serbian Armed Forces led by Minister of Defence Aleksandar Vulin, including also the Chief of General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces General Ljubiša Diković, laid wreaths with military honours at the Charnel house of soldiers fallen in Serbian-Turkish Wars and Serbian-Bulgarian War and at the Charnel House of the defenders of Belgrade in the First World War, while the central commemoration was held next to the Monument to the Liberators of Belgrade in the Second World War and the New Cemetery.
The delegation of the Ministry of Defence and Serbian Armed Forces laid wreaths at the Monument to the victims of war and defenders of the homeland from 1990 to 1999 at Sava Square in Belgrade, and the Day of military veterans was officially celebrated in all the units of the Serbian Armed Forces.