Heroine who resembles her country
The remains of Milunka Savic, the Serbian heroine of the Balkan wars and the First World War, were transferred yesterday to the Alley of the Greats at the New Cemetary, where were laid with tacts of the poem “There, Far Away”.
The remains of Milunka Savic, were laid to rest 40 years after her death during a ceremony with full military and state honors and with an intonation of the national anthem “God of Justice” and salvo at the Belgrade’s New Cemetary. His Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch, officiated the memorial service which was attended by members of the family, President of Serbia Tomislav Nikolic, Ministers Nebojsa Rodic, Ivan Mrkic, Velimir Ilic, Tomislav Jovanovic, Aleksandar Antic and Milan Bacevic, as well as Chief of the Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces General Ljubisa Dikovic.
The ceremony was also attended by Deputy Parliament Speaker Konstantin Arsenovic, Deputy Chairman of the Belgrade City Assembly Zoran Alimpic, Roman Catholic Church Archbishop of Belgrade Stanislav Hocevar, officials of foreign embassies and military attaches of 19 countries and a large number of people.
Serbian Patriarch Irinej served the memorial service for Milunka Savic in front of the church of Saint Nicholas at the New Cemetary. His Holiness pointed out that Milunka, who sacrificed herself without reserve, experienced and bore all the difficulties of the war and suffering and waited for what she had fought for – the freedom of the Serbian people.
Milunka Savic, the Serbian Joan of Arc, took part in both of the Balkan Wars and in the First World War and she was awarded Gold Order of the Karadjordje's Star with Swords, Gold Medal for Bravery – Milos Obilic, French Légion d’Honneur of IV degree, Légion d’Honneur of V degree, French Croix de Guerre 1914-1918, British medal of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael, Albanian Retreat medal and Medal of Remembrance of the Salonika Front 1915-1965.
Milunka was born in the village of Koprivnica, near Raska, southwest Serbia, in the late 19th century, and she took part in the Balkan Wars under the name Milun Savic, disguised as a man since no woman was allowed to take part in the war as soldier.Her “secret” was discovered after she was wounded in the Battle of Bregalnica in 1913.
In the First World War she was part of the glorious “Iron Regiment”, the most elite Second Regiment of the Serbian Army “Prince Mihajlo”. In autumn 1915 Milunka was heavily wounded in Macedonia, yet she managed to retreat through Albania. After several months of recovery she returned to the Salonika Front where she participated in battles which the Serbian army fought on summer and autumn 1916.
She died on October 5, 1973.