Distinguished guests,

Welcome to the Army Home of the Republic of Macedonia where we are hosting the First Festival of Military Music organized in the history of sovereign and independent Republic of Macedonia. With the sounds played by the military orchestra, our soldiers and officers are firmly striding under the national flag and the flag of their units as proud holders of the libertarian traditions and as guardians of peace and security at home and abroad.

Today’s ceremony is the result of the efforts of the President of the Republic of Macedonia and the Government of the Republic of Macedonia through the Ministry of Defence for continuous promotion and enrichment of the cultural and military-historical heritage that is fostered in the units of the Army of Republic of Macedonia.

For twenty-five years, the Army of the Republic of Macedonia has been built upon the combat traditions of the revolutionary units and the National Liberation Army of Macedonia.

On this day, the second of May 1903, the first and most important step on the road to Macedonia’s freedom and statehood was made. On 2 May 1903, the Congress of the Macedonian Revolutionary Organization began in the village of Smilevo, with the decision that the Macedonian people, together with their fellow citizens from other nations and religions start an armed fight for freedom, immortalized in the Ilinden Uprising.

At Smilevo Congress in 1903, the Headquarters of the uprising was elected led by Damjan Gruev and the Uprising Disciplinary Constitution was adopted, which stipulated “the rebel must protect the flag as long as he lives and everyone must make an expensive bed for the flag with their own body before they fall”.

Today on 2 May, 2017 with this Festival of Military Music we pay our tribute to our famous ancestors who walked fearlessly with a song on their lips even in death for free Macedonia. With loud cries of “Freedom or death” during the revolutionary struggle and “Death to fascism – freedom to the people” during the National Liberation and Anti-Fascist war, our ancestors fought and won Macedonian statehood.

In memory of all the heroes that gave their lives for an independent Republic of Macedonia with the confidence and commitment that “Macedonia strides strongly forward,” the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Macedonia announced a “Competition for original Macedonian march” in view of enriching the repertoire of original Macedonian military music. Today you will hear and choose the best compositions from the competition performed by the ARM Military Orchestra.

I would like to take this opportunity to extend my gratitude to all participants in the realization of this event, to my collaborators in the Ministry of Defence and the Army of the Republic of Macedonia, the Military Orchestra, the Faculty for Music Art at Ss. Cyril and Methodius – Skopje, the choir St. Zlata Meglenska, the participants in the competition, the members of the competition committee and all media reporting on today’s event.

Thank you!