On the 17th of December 1990, a unit of the armed forces – the MORIS Brigade – of the forming state of Slovenia was publicly lined up in Kočevska Reka for the first time, and we also experienced what it would be like to have a Slovenian Army for the first time. The message of those who were part of the Brigade was clear: We are prepared to defend the path to Slovenia’s independence.
Thirty years ago, the first unit of the members of the Slovenian Armed Forces (Moris Brigade) lined up in Kočevska Reka, from which the MORIS Special Brigade and the first brigade of the Slovenian Army were later formed. For the first time in history, the loyal Slovenian Army was presented to the Slovenian nation and the democratically elected authorities, and with its formation, they demonstrated their willingness and preparedness to defend Slovenia in the process of gaining its independence. One week before the historic plebiscite, this event was proof for Slovenia, Yugoslavia and the entire world, that Slovenia’s path to independence would also be secured with military means.
The line-up of the Slovenian Army units happened due to a historic decision made by the Demos Club in Poljče a month before the event in question: s plebiscite law was proposed to the Slovenian Assembly, which would decide whether we want to live in a sovereign state of the Slovenian nation. The Plebiscite on the Sovereignty and Independence of the Republic of Slovenia Act was adopted, and preparations for the plebiscite began, and with them came the threats from the opponents of independence and questions of defending the plebiscite decision. In response to these dilemmas and in support of the plebiscite, a line-up of the Slovenian Army took place, which was also proof that we are serious about protecting the process of gaining our independence. The event, which was also attended by the then-Minister of Defence Janez Janša, was, among other things, an expression of the responsible will of the Slovenian government, its defence strategy, close cooperation between the ministries of the interior and defence, and the courage of the individuals defending Slovenian independence.
The first line-up of the Slovenian Army did not include the protectors of the privileged top of the undemocratic Yugoslav regime, but the men and boys who were prepared to give everything for the freedom of an independent and democratic Slovenia. Those heroes became a part of the history of the Slovenian nation forever.
Thirty years ago, in Kočevska Reka, self-confidence and courage arose, which enabled a historic result in the plebiscite, the successful defence of the independence process against the Yugoslav aggression, and the international recognition of Slovenia. Therefore, the 17th of December 1990 is an important day that should be celebrated, as it is important for the whole of Slovenia and should occupy a worthy space in our historical memory.