|Official name||Dan pobjede i domovinske zahvalnosti i Dan hrvatskih branitelja|
|Next time||5 August 2023|
Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day and the Day of Croatian Defenders (Croatian : Dan pobjede i domovinske zahvalnosti i Dan hrvatskih branitelja) is a public holiday in Croatia that is celebrated annually on 5 August, commemorating the Croatian War of Independence. On that date in 1995 the Croatian Army took the city of Knin during Operation Storm, which effectively brought an end to Republic of Serbian Krajina proto-state. In 2008, the Croatian Parliament also assigned the name Day of Croatian Defenders (Croatian : Dan hrvatskih branitelja) to the holiday, which honors the current service members and veterans of the Armed Forces of Croatia.
The main celebration is centered in Knin where there are festivities commemorating the event, beginning with a mass and laying of wreaths in honour of those who died in the war, and continuing with parades and concerts. The event is attended by thousands, including the country's leading politicians.The Flag of Croatia on Knin Fortress is ceremonially raised as part of the celebrations.
A special military parade of the Armed Forces in honor of Victory Day was held on 4 August 2015 in Zagreb, celebrating the twentieth anniversary of Operation Storm.The parade was opened by the Honor Guard Battalion on the lawns of the National and University Library, with three MiG-21's flying over the city. "Lijepa naša domovino" was performed by the 12-year-old Mia Negovetić, accompanied by the Croatian Armed Forces Band and the Croatian Navy's vocal ensemble. It aroused great public interest considering that the last military parade in Croatia was organized in 1997. About 100,000 spectators attended the parade, additional sound systems were installed at the last minute until the intersection of City of Vukovar and Savska Streets. The editorial board of the Zagreb-based Jutarnji list , gave a positive review of the parade, demanding the introduction of regular parades for Victory Day. Military analyst Igor Tabak praised the event, while criticizing the inauthenticity of certain "historical units".
On the silver jubilee in 2020, the celebrations were attended for the first time ever by an ethnic Serb political representative, Deputy Prime Minister Boris Milošević, a move which was applauded across the political spectrum, with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković among others stating that it will "send a new message for Croatian society".On top of this, Plenković, as well as President Zoran Milanović sent messages of peace to the people of Serbia. Opposition to the move from the Deputy Prime Minister came from members of the political far-right such as the Homeland Movement and the Croatian Defence Forces, as well as from politicians from Serbia and Republika Srpska.
Operation Storm was the last major battle of the Croatian War of Independence and a major factor in the outcome of the Bosnian War. It was a decisive victory for the Croatian Army (HV), which attacked across a 630-kilometre (390 mi) front against the self-declared proto-state Republic of Serbian Krajina (RSK), and a strategic victory for the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ARBiH). The HV was supported by the Croatian special police advancing from the Velebit Mountain, and the ARBiH located in the Bihać pocket, in the Army of the Republic of Serbian Krajina's (ARSK) rear. The battle, launched to restore Croatian control of 10,400 square kilometres of territory, representing 18.4% of the territory it claimed, and Bosnian control of Western Bosnia, was the largest European land battle since the Second World War. Operation Storm commenced at dawn on 4 August 1995 and was declared complete on the evening of 7 August, despite significant mopping-up operations against pockets of resistance lasting until 14 August.
Knin is a city in the Šibenik-Knin County of Croatia, located in the Dalmatian hinterland near the source of the river Krka, an important traffic junction on the rail and road routes between Zagreb and Split. Knin rose to prominence twice in history, as the capital of both the medieval Kingdom of Croatia and, briefly, of the unrecognized self-proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina for the duration of Croatian War of Independence from 1991 to 1995.
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Knin Fortress is located near the tallest mountain in Croatia, Dinara, and near the source of the river Krka. It is the second largest fortress in Croatia and most significant defensive stronghold, and a historical town in the Šibenik-Knin County in the Dalmatian Hinterland. The construction of the fortress started as early as 9th century, while the current state was brought up in 17th and 18th centuries. It reached its peak during the reign of Demetrius Zvonimir, King of Croatia from 1076, as it served as a political center of the Croatian Kingdom under him.
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Lika railway, officially a part of M604 railway, is a 220 km-long single-track, not electrified railroad connecting Zagreb-Rijeka line with Knin railway hub. It mostly runs through Lika region. M604 railway is the only operating railway link between the continental Croatia and Dalmatia, especially its harbors of Split, Zadar, and Šibenik (M607). Lika railway, finished in 1925, is a key part of this link. The M604 line itself runs from Oštarije/Ogulin on Zagreb-Rijeka railway past Knin, to Split terminus. Its total length is 320 km. Historically, much older Knin-Split section of M604 line used to be known as Dalmatian railway.
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