The Croatian parliament gave a reception on Friday to mark Independence Day, remembering 8 October 1991 when it adopted a historic resolution declaring Croatia's independence from the Yugoslav federation.
The reception's host, Parliament Speaker Zeljko Reiner, said that "we all have a lasting commitment and responsibility to preserve the memory of 8 October 1991, of the Homeland War, and of the patriotism and unity that sustained and encouraged us, and never again to allow Croatia to be threatened by anyone."
Reiner recalled that the 1991-1995 war had claimed over 15,000 lives, including 402 children. He pointed out that 30,000 Croats, including 200 children, had been held in Serb-run detention camps.
"Let this day be a credible encouragement to us to restore the hope and trust of our people and launch the recovery of this country to bring happiness and satisfaction to all its citizens," he added.
Looking back at the past quarter century, Reiner said that Croatia had achieved a lot, becoming a member of NATO and the European Union, but warned that its people unfortunately were still not living in prosperity.
"Could have we done better? We certainly could, and that's precisely why we must not stop half way. We must not give up the ideals that moved us 25 years ago," Reiner said.
The reception was attended by senior state officials, prominent public figures, religious dignitaries and foreign diplomats accredited in Croatia. A minute's silence was observed in tribute to the first Croatian president, Franjo Tudjman, and all the people killed defending the country during the Homeland War.