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Croatia: Mourning protocol

Last modified: 2011-08-20 by ivan sache
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Mourning for the Minister of Defence Gojko Susak (1998)

Following the death of the Minister of Defence Gojko Susak, a state/military funeral was arranged (he was also a reserve General Major) and the day of the funeral was proclaimed as a day of mourning in the whole country. In the Army, the mourning was in effect from the reception of the information till the day of the funeral.

When the sad news reached the barracks, all the flags were lhalf-staffed, including the flag at the main rally point, the unit flag in front of the command building and the flag of Red Cross on the ambulance building. These are the flags that are hoisted constantly in the barracks, the latter two even by night under the light of a reflector beam.
After a while, following the protocol officially adopted by the government, the black flag was hoisted too, by the State flag on the rally point, on the other pole (there are two flag poles there), also at half mast, which was unproper. This was taken as a practice, and on all government buildings, administration and state-owned buildings and by many civilians, two flags were hoisted half-masted, the State flag to the viewer's right and the black flag to the left.

On the funeral itself, just near the grave, during the ceremony, the State flag that was covering the coffin was folded so that it made a triangle, much similar to the way it is customarily in US and given to the grandson of the deceased Minister.

In the town, on and in front of buildings that customarily fly more than one flag (typically, business companies), in some cases only the national flag was half-masted, while in others, all of the flags were so. On the building of HDZ, the ruling political party, whose Vice-President the deceased Minister was, the party flag was half-masted, too.
In the town of Jastrebarsko near Zagreb, the opening ceremony of military sports games, with participants from some two dozen states, started with a minute of silence, and all flags were dipped in salute (or what it is called, when a hand-held flag mast moved from vertical position to 45 degrees).

In the Army, the half-masted flag was lowered in the evening straight down, and raised only the half-way up in the morning. The black flag half-masted by it was not lowered whole the time at all.

željko Heimer, 10 May 1998

Mourning for the President of the Republic Franjo Tuđman (1999)

Following the death of the President of the Republic, flags were lowered to half mast, and they would stay so for three days of mourning.
The flag of the President, on the left, and the national flag, on the right, were used on the car that drove the body from the hospital to his residence, where it would be laying until the burial on next Monday. These were made of metal, but two textile flags were also on the first motorcycle in the avant-garde.
On most places the national flags were half-masted properly, that is somewhat about the hoist size lower than top, to approximately half-mast. Where other flags are used to be hoisted (local flags, company flags and similar), these were also half-masted. Not unusual was to see also the black mourning flag to be hoisted, and this time, the balck flag was hoisted properly, that is not lowered to half-mast even if the next flags there were half-masted national and local flags. I consider this a very positive development towards a proper flag protocol.

željko Heimer, 12 December 1999