MACEDONIA REMEMBERS SOLDIERS
We will remember eternally and with a proud our heroes who died on their way to homeland after successfully completing the mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonian President Branko Crvenkovski said on Monday. The statement was made at today's commemoration of the death of 11 members of the Army of the Republic of Macedonia (ERM).
Crvenkovski stressed that such a tragic loss of soldiers was not seen in the country's recent history. "The misfortune is even bigger, as young soldiers and senior officers died while returning home to their families after successfully conducted mission." Crvenkovski paid tribute to dead soldiers, noting that they were Macedonia's proud and its ambassadors.
"Only the best in ARM have been granted the honor of being a part of the international peacekeeping missions abroad, in which our country is contributing to peace and stability. It is the unconditional commitment by these soldiers in the past few years that had entrenched the country's international reputation and credibility. They have helped their own country to tackle the most difficult challenges, said Crvenkovski, the President and the Supreme Commander of Macedonia's Armed Forces.
Defense Minister Lazar Elenovski said Macedonia lost 11 heroes, dedicated members of the ARM, personalities with highest values of humanity, professionalism, dedicated, modesty and patriotism. "In these deepest moments of grief, Macedonia must show dignity and respect for what our heroes had died for. The Ministry of Defense will never abandon the families of these heroes," Elenovski said.
"Macedonia's army is flooded with grief. The loss of our colleagues, true friends, and good people with huge hearts had unleashed a never-ending pain," said General Miroslav Stojanovski, Army Chief of Staff. "With their unselfish dedication to peacekeeping mission in BIH, along with other members of ARM participating in other missions across the world, they were not just a missionaries but also prominent ambassadors of Macedonia, General Stojanovski said.
Macedonia's peacekeepers, killed in helicopter crash just minutes before landing at Skopje's airport last Saturday, will be buried on Tuesday with highest military honors. The aircraft was carrying the peace keeps back home after a six-month duty within the EU-led mission in Bosnia.