Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic issued a message on Thursday extending her best wishes to Croatian citizens on Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day and Croatian Veterans' Day, observed on August 5.
"To all Croatian citizens in the homeland and abroad I wish a happy Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day and Croatian Veterans' Day. The Homeland War is the foundation of our country and Operation Storm is the crown of our historic battle for freedom.
We are proud of our victory and of all our achievements and successes so far. Let us celebrate joyfully our national holiday, with gratitude to all those who sacrificed their lives and health to achieve independence," the president said in her message.
On August 5, Croatians remember Operation Storm, a combined military and police operation undertaken in 1995 to regain control of Serb-held areas of the country after five years of occupation. Within 84 hours, Croatian soldiers and police crushed the Serb rebellion and retook control of 10,500 square kilometres of land, or nearly a fifth of the country.
The operation led to the end of the war and pave the way for the peaceful reintegration of the eastern Danube region three years later. 174 Croatian soldiers and policemen were killed in the offensive and over 1,400 were wounded.