Thursday, August 14, 2014

VIDEO! Marking the 30th Anniversary of the Consecration of New Gracanica Serbian Orthodox Monastery in Third Lake, IL with original documentary film by MIR Productions of Chicago / "BUILD THYSELF A CHURCH"


New Gracanica Serbian Orthodox Monastery in Third Lake, IL U.S.A.
Photo by Aleksandra Rebic June 30, 2013.

A perfect moment of reflection and prayer
at New Gracanica Serbian Orthodox Monastery in Third Lake, IL U.S.A.
Photo by Aleksandra Rebic June 30, 2013.

Aleksandra's Note: I am so pleased to have the opportunity to share this wonderful documentary film produced and directed by Mirko Popadic of Mir Productions in Chicago and written by Joe McGarry! This film gives the historical background of the development of the New Gracanica Serbian Orthodox Monastery in Third Lake, IL along with fantastic documentary footage of the process. Before your very eyes, you will see the birth of this Christian landmark in Chicagoland that's been welcoming the Orthodox faithful for 30 years now since August 12, 1984.

When I first saw this film courtesy of producer and director Mirko Popadic back in 2009, I was in awe of how well it was done and watching the process of the building of the New Gracanica Monastery was absolutely mesmerizing. The historical background provided in the narration complements the film footage beautifully. For this extraordinary documentary, Mirko received a Chicago Emmy Award in 1990 as producer.

In "BUILD THYSELF A CHURCH" Mirko Popadic gives the Christian community a real historical and visual treasure through the magic of film. If one would like to learn more about his production company here in Chicagoland, please visit http://mirproductionsinc.com

As you watch, and I encourage you to watch the 35 minute video from start to finish, you will undoubtedly see many people you recognize or have known over the years, especially if you live in the Chicagoland area.

A heartfelt "Thank You" goes out to Mirko Popadic, for making "BUILD THYSELF A CHURCH" available for all of us and for future generations to enjoy and learn from!

Sincerely,

Aleksandra Rebic
August 2014

*****

"BUILD THYSELF A CHURCH"
Published on You Tube by "jelmirolimic"
Published on Aug 13, 2014


http://youtu.be/lHaqlgaAmRk


ABOUT THE VIDEO:

"Build Thyself A Church was produced and directed by Mirko Popadic and written by Joe McGarry.

"Thirty years ago Bishop Iriney and the Serbian Orthodox Free Diocese of United States and Canada consecrated their new church monastery, Gracanica.

"As Bishop Iriney wrote, Build Thyself a Church has and will continue to impact future generations."


*****

If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com

*****

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

"Дража из студентског угла" / Милош Николин 17.07.2014 / July 17, 2014


 
"Дража из студентског угла"
 
Испрљана, умрљана, гарава, сва у блату, мусава, тешко оболела, крастава, сва у ранама, утучена, неутешна, сва малодушна, огњеним мачем исечена. То је данас Србија.

Наравно пошто смо давно у установили да смо стручњаци у лечењу последица а не узрока како би у ствари требало, кад читалац прочита овај претходно речени први пасус, онда га он и не би требало да га прими пуно к срцу. Па то је још само један „почетак краја“ или „крај почетка“ што би рекао Черчил, ал` онако извучено из садржаја његове пуне реченице. Нама је ето остао још само тај јадни „крај“, само да се за њега ухватимо па можда наиђемо на неки део тог спасоносног ужета који се зове „почетак“ .

За мене, као студента Факултета политичких наука, генеза настанка мука сваког становника Србије потпуно је јасна. Овде је завладала малодушност, људи примају плата не више сваког месеца него негде чекају и до годину дана. Ал` добро, сетимо се оног сјајног времена од 1944. на овамо. Не беше ли то наш „највећи тренутак“? Било је то време великих парола, идеја. „Комунизам од Трста до Владивостока“, „променићемо човека у Србији“ тако су говорили другови и променили су га. Држава је тад као и сад „увек и свугде “има је свугде само тамо где треба нема је. Учени смо да мрзимо класне непријатеље. „Класне непријатеље“? Јел се то овде мисли на Југословенску војску у отаџбини, на остатак војске из априлског рата? Да. Свака војска у свету носи име свог народа али се ту нашао изузетак. Само је НОВЈ била „народна“ војска. као да у свету постоје и некакве приватне војске. Добро ајде, руку на срце, нису баш сви партијски руководиоци били одбојни према том „приватној“ својини, нарочито не они на највишим местима. Кад је 1944. дошло време „ослобођења“ од живота ,од имовине, партизани су се показали  као вешти стручњаци у приватизацији. Нема те дедињске виле коју нису ослободили и која им се није свидела и на коју нису поболи црвену заставу на којој је било исписано „ово је моје“. И данас ми основу закона о реституцији враћамо ту одузету имовину правим власницима. Тако је и војвода Петар Бојовић ослобођен.

А Дража? Човек који нас је волео, вожд који је волео да чује реч свог народа, сељака, студента, омладине. Шта је он скривио? Ма, Срби су увек волели и дивили се својим џелатима као што је био Броз. А кнез Павле и Дража који су хтели да спасу народ проглашени су за неке издајнике. Кога су издали? Па је л то Дража био у партизанима па да може да их изда. Дража је осећао присност са тим сељацима јер то је био „буке“ нашег народа. Данас тих сељака и нема, а ако их и има онда је то углавном старачко становништво без наследника огњишта и будућности. Народ је под таласом вештачке индустријализације извучен из села и доведен у градове. Крахом комунизма и пљачкашком приватизацијом они су остали без посла.

После рата су они који су нас гурали у смрт кићени титулама „народних хероја“. Највећа уметност тада постаде заглупљивање људи уместо да на универзитетима предају они су митинговали ,учили да говоре и зборе до зоре о бескласном друштву а високошколске установе су у потпуности обезвређене и подређене партији. Сви партијски руководиоци врло брзо постадоше доктори наука. Све што је после рата мирисало на памет, надареност и интелигенцију стрпано је у воз без повратне карте за „ненародне елементе“. Нама ето остаје да се окренемо будућности, само се надам да када будемо градили и копали темеље за будућност не налетимо на неку комунистичку масовну гробницу „народних непријатеља“.


Милош Николин

17.07.2014
 
*****
If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com
 
*****

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Marking the 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE HALYARD MISSION RESCUE OPERATION OF WWII August 2014 / Lt. Col. Milton Friend of the USAF, Halyard Mission veteran, desires American debt to General Mihailovich repaid


The 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Halyard Mission
Chicago, IL May 1994
From left to right:
Lt. Col. Milton Friend (USAF), Norman Reid (Canada)
Major Richard L. Felman (USAF), kneeling and saluting, and
Major George Vujnovich, OSS chief of the Halyard Mission.
Photo by Aleksandra Rebic

"The first meeting with the General was very brief.  Two Canadians, one British airman, and myself were trying to get to the coast to find a way out of Yugoslavia. We were met by Chetnik soldiers and brought to Mihailovich's headquarters. We spoke only to the General's staff members for about half an hour. We told them we were on our way to the coast after having been in their country for over 50 days. We asked for help to get to the coast. It was then that General Mihailovich came into the room. After being briefed by his Staff, he told us that an American escape committee had been formed which was trying to reach the 15 Air Force headquarters in Bari, Italy to notify headquarters about how many airmen were stranded in Yugoslavia. If they were not successful, the General said that he would provide an escort of his soldiers to take us to the coast. That was good news, and we went back to Pranjani to await developments. I remember how warm and friendly and sincere he seemed in trying to help us.

The second meeting was longer, lasting for about an hour. General Mihailovich described his fondness for America and his hopes for the future when the Americans would come to his aid and help his forces free Yugoslavia. He spoke in French and an aide translated his words into English for us.

I remember that I didn't speak too much, I just listened in awe. He ended up being good to his word. I never saw General Mihailovich face to face again after those meetings in 1944, but I won't ever forget him."

Lt. Col. Milton Friend
USAF (Retired)

Lt. Col. Milton Friend (USAF, Ret.)
at the age of 88 in January of 2010.
Photo courtesy of Milton Friend.

*****

Aleksandra's Note: To my surprise and joy, Lt. Col. Milton Friend of the USAF, a Halyard Mission veteran that I met in person in Chicago in 1994 for the 50th anniversary celebration of the Halyard Mission Rescue Operation, got in touch with me in 2009. I had wondered if he was still living. Indeed he was, and he had a story to tell. When I searched for him on the internet, I discovered that he was not featured anywhere that I could find. I told him that his story needs to be made public and be given wide exposure, and it is my absolute pleasure to share that story with you, in Milton's own words. The following year, in October of 2010, Lt. Col. Friend traveled with his wife all the way back to Serbia after 66 years, because he wanted to testify at the Mihailovich Rehabilitation hearings. Fortunately, there was an extensive amount of attention given to his visit and here in the archives of www.generalmihailovich.com you can find many of the news stories, in both the Serbian and English language, that highlighted his visit to Serbia as well as the Mihailovich Rehabilitation hearing that he participated in. He made this journey at the age of 88 with his wife Shirley, and it turned out to an unforgettable trip for both of them.

I'm very happy to report that Milton recently celebrated his 92nd birthday, on June 25, 2014, and that he is alive and well to mark the 70th anniversary of the great Halyard Mission Rescue Operation which forever changed the course of his life in World War II. The first wave of Halyard Mission rescues began on August 9/10 of 1944 in Nazi-occupied Serbia, and Lt. Col. Friend was among the American military personnel evacuated during that first wave.

Thank you, Lt. Col. Friend for sharing your important story. I know that others will be so happy that you are still with us, and continue to carry the torch for General Mihailovich. You are a fine example of the "good American" and it is a privilege and an honor to know you.


May God bless you and hold you in the palm of His hand.
 
Sincerely,
 
Aleksandra Rebic
Chicago
August 10, 2014
 
*****
 
2nd Lt. Milton Friend at home in New Jersey after returning safe
and sound from Serbia, in August of 1944 via the Halyard Mission
Rescue Operation. He is wearing his Purple Heart and Air Medal, awarded to him after only two combat missions.
Photo courtesy of Lt. Col. Milton Friend.
 

MILTON'S STORY

My name is Milton E. Friend. My twin brother Murray and I were born on June 25, 1922 in Passaic , New Jersey. I’ll be 88 years old this year. My brother Murray and I enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program in July 1942, prior to being drafted. We were called up from the enlisted Reserve as Aviation Cadets in February 1943 and sent to Nashville, Tennessee for classification as a pilot, bombardier, or navigator. During classification, my brother Murray underwent a minor operation, and I asked to have my classification held up so that we could remain together in Service. However, the request was turned down with the comment that the specialized training we were to undergo could not be delayed. Murray’s healing process took much longer (over six months) than anticipated, and I was classified as a Pilot and sent to pre-flight training in Montgomery, Alabama and then to Primary Flight School at Douglas, Georgia. Unfortunately, I did not progress as quickly as the Air Corps demanded, and was “Washed Out”, but in view of my exceptionally high grades during the academic portion of my training, I was reclassified as a Navigator and sent to Selman Field, Monroe, Louisiana, for navigation training. I graduated on February 8, 1944 from Navigation School and was commissioned as a Second Lt. In the Army Air Corps. Next came training at Aerial Gunnery School in Florida, assignment to a crew on a B-24 Heavy Bomber as a Navigator, combat crew training in Charleston, SC and orders to proceed overseas to Italy with my assigned crew in a brand new B-24.



The crew Milton Friend trained and flew with on his first

combat mission in WWII, to Florence, Italy. 
On his second mission, to the Ploesti Oil Fields, Romania
he would fly with a different crew.
Photo courtesy of Lt. Col. Milton Friend.
 
The B-24 Liberator
 
Murray was still in the hospital in Nashville, recovering from his operation, which was not healing properly. Miraculously, just as the Air Corps was about to release him from service, six months after the operation, the wound healed, and Murray convinced the Air Corps that he should be allowed to continue with his training. In those days with the United States at war, no one wanted to remain at home and not participate as an active combatant. Murray was classified as a navigator and completed his training at Selman Field, Louisiana.

My crew and I arrived in Italy on June 1, 1944 and were assigned to the 15th Air Force. I flew my first mission on June 5, 1944, a milk run to Florence, Italy, and my second and last mission on that tour on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Though I still had not completed all the “Escape and Evasion Lectures” given to all newly arrived crew members, I filled in as navigator on my second mission for an experienced crew (not my own) to replace a navigator who had been assigned to the group. My second mission was to the Ploesti oil fields in Rumania, the toughest and most dangerous target assigned to the 15th Air Force. The plane, piloted by First Lt. Everett Estep, was selected to lead the squadron, a contingent of 12 B-24 bombers within a total force of over 800 bombers. Approximately 100 P-51 fighter planes were assigned to accompany the bombers to the target area. As the 12-plane formation reached the target area and the B-24s were about to drop their bombs from 19,000 feet, another squadron appeared under the formation at a lower altitude just as the bomb bay doors were opened. Since it is impossible to go back to the IP (initial point) and make another run at the target, especially a target as well defended as Ploesti, the pilot ordered the bomb bay doors closed and asked me for a heading (the course he should take) to the alternate target, which was also in Rumania. The 12 planes left the major formation and left the fighter escort and proceeded to the alternate target in Rumania . The bombs were dropped on the marshalling yards (railroad center) in a small city in Rumania , and I then gave the pilot a heading for home, to the airbase in Italy . I called to the crew on the plane’s intercom at 11:00 a.m. on D-Day, June 6, 1944:

“Navigator to crew. My ETA to base is 1132. We will be in the debriefing room in about 30 minutes. Be alert. Watch out for German fighters.”

Within 7 minutes from the time I alerted the crew, the plane was on fire. The Number 4 engine was burning, and the right wing was starting to burn off and curl up. The plane had been attacked by two German ME-109 fighters. As the lead plane, we were at the head of the diamond formation. German fighters always liked to attack the most experienced crews first. Therefore, they flew under the last plane in the diamond without firing and attacked us in the lead plane. They made one pass and got the Number 4 engine. It was so sudden that only a couple of gunners were able to get any 50 caliber rounds off. Almost immediately, the pilot gave the order to bail out. I calmed down enough to tell the crew that we were over Yugoslavia . I was behind the nose gunner turret in the navigator’s compartment. I waited for the gunner to get out of the turret. He was wearing heavy sheepskin lined flying boots and as he tried to climb out of the nose turret his foot got caught on the turret’s control pedals. He told me of the difficulty he was having, but he eventually broke free and gave me the high sign that he was O.K. I then left the plane through the exit doors in the nose. I, too, had some difficulty, because only one of the two swinging escape doors opened, and I hung in the slip stream for about ten seconds (that seemed like 10 minutes) but finally fell free. The entire crew bailed out at about 16,000 feet, and as I remembered the briefing I had attended, I attempted to free fall to avoid being fired upon by the enemy fighters in the area. I pulled the rip cord at about 2000 feet, and within seconds the two ME-109 fighters who had attacked our plane approached my chute. They came close enough so that I could see the face of one of the pilots, but, fortunately, they only buzzed by me without firing and then flew off. After the noise of the gun fire and the enemy fighters subsided, as I floated lazily toward the ground, everything became deathly still. I looked up at the clear blue sky, and said: ‘Thanks, GOD.’

The German Messerschmitt Bf 109E-3 single-seat fighter
 
Bomb Route from Italy to the Ploesti Oil Fields, Romania
and the fall over Yugoslavia June 6, 1944

Once my parachute opened, I felt confident that everything would be okay. I don’t know why, but I wasn’t worried about what was ahead. I was alive, and that’s what I was thankful for, at the moment. I did not know what was ahead of me, whether the enemy would be waiting for me or whether I could reach friendly forces. At the last escape briefing I had attended we were told that if we landed in Yugoslavia we were to try to find members of Tito’s Partisans. Identify them by the red stars on their hats. They might be able to get us out of enemy territory. We were further told at the escape and evasion lecture that if we landed with the Chetniks, ‘we don’t know what will happen to you’. There were all kinds of rumors back in Italy about the Chetniks. I tried to steer the parachute to an open area (as I was briefed) and away from some trees I saw looming ahead. In spite of my effort, I landed right in the middle of a small group of trees. My chute caught on the branches, and I was hanging in the wind. I banged my right foot on a rock as I landed and I thought it was broken(it turned out to be a bad sprain). Just then, as I was hanging in the tree, I saw three people come over a hill into view. Not knowing if they were friendly or the enemy, as they got closer and I recognized them as two elderly men and a young boy, I yelled ‘Americana!’ When I saw what looked like a smile on the boy’s face, I thought that they might be friendly. When the young boy climbed the tree and cut my parachute down, I felt a little more secure and safe for the time being. It turned out that they were, indeed, friendly. They carried me into a small town nearby, rounded up some more of my crew, fed us, offered us “rackia” (Shlivovitza), a very potent Serbian plum brandy, and told us we were with the Chetniks. About 30 minutes later they told us that the Germans were out looking for us. Some Chetnik soldiers entered the home where we were hidden and said they would escort us away from the town and into the mountains. Only five of us (out of a crew of 11) were together at that time. The soldiers later told us that our nose gunner was hit by the out-of-control airplane and was killed. They found his body and gave him a burial. We traveled for two days, mostly straight up the mountains, until we reached a garrison of about 20 Chetnik soldiers.
 
The Chetniks told us that the Germans would not come up into the mountains, because they could not bring their heavy equipment, and that we were safe for the time being. They treated us well, fed us with whatever food was available to them - mostly bread, goat’s milk, some berries, and once in a while, some lamb roasted over an open fire. In about five weeks, after many false alarms, we were told that we were leaving the area and being taken to a place where airplanes could land and take us back to Italy . This turned out to be false, and our prospect of getting out of Yugoslavia before the war was over seemed hopeless. At that time, the rest of our crew members were brought to the mountain garrison, and we were joined by about ten other airmen, including two Englishmen and two Canadians. The Canadians, a pilot and a navigator, and the two Englishmen, aerial gunners, were from the same airplane, a Wimpy light bomber, which had been shot down by anti-aircraft while bombing a bridge in Yugoslavia at night. Accompanied by about 15 armed Chetnik soldiers and traveling through German occupied territory, past radar stations and small guard posts, and crossing a bridge controlled by the Germans, we were taken to a small village about 80 kilometers south of Belgrade, named Pranjani. It took seven days of travel by horse cart, on foot, and for short periods, by truck. We traveled by night and slept by day to avoid the German patrols, which, we were told, were still looking for us.
 
Navigator Milton E. Friend USAF,
standing, 3rd from right, with Serbian Chetnik rescuers,
Serbia, 1944. Photo courtesy of Lt. Col. Friend.

When we got to Pranjani we found out that no rescue planes were coming. The Americans, at the insistence of the British and Russians, had cut off aid to General Draza Mihailovich and the Chetniks and had decided to support Tito and his Partisans exclusively. At this time, there were more than one hundred airmen in the vicinity of Pranjani. Since an immediate rescue looked hopeless, the two Canadians, one of the English gunners, and I decided that we would leave the area on our own and try to reach the Partisans who we knew were close to Sarajevo, thinking that they could get us out.

After traveling for three days and nights, while looking for a place to sleep, we came upon three farmers in a field. We tried to explain that we wanted to go on, but they insisted we go with them. They eventually took us to Mihailovich’s headquarters. It was there that I met the General for the first of the two times that I would meet with him face to face. He explained to us that an American Escape Committee made up of downed fliers had been formed and that they were trying to reach the Allies in Italy by ham radio. If they didn’t make contact in the next few days, the General told us he would provide an armed escort to enable us to contact the Partisans.

Fortunately, contact was made. At my second and last meeting with General Mihailovich at his headquarters, members of the escape committee he had told me about at our earlier meeting were present, and we obtained maps of the area to prepare for future evacuation. It was at this meeting that General Mihailovich spoke to us at length (in French, which was translated into English by one of his staff) about his plans after the war for a democratic form of government in Yugoslavia . He told us that when the time came, and the Allies returned to Yugoslavia, his forces would be ready to sacrifice their lives, if necessary, for the American and Allied cause. To this day, I have never forgotten either him or his sincere promise to us all those years ago in a faraway land.

An OSS team, of which radioman Arthur “Jibby” Jibilian remains the sole living survivor, was sent into Yugoslavia and a rescue was planned and we were readied for evacuation. The rescue mission, led by Captain George “Guv” Musulin, who lived in McLean, VA and is since deceased, made arrangements with the 15th Air Force in Italy to send in transports and fighter planes to surround the area and to neutralize the German airfields that were in the vicinity of our “homemade” air strip constructed by the Chetniks there in the hills of Pranjani, Serbia. On the night of August 9, 1944 six C-47 cargo planes landed, and the sick and wounded were flown out first. The remainder of the downed airmen, including myself, was flown out the next day, August 10, 1944, on C-47 transports protected by P-51 fighter planes. A total of over 200 Allied airmen were rescued during those two days. The rescue was called the Halyard Mission. To date, the Halyard Mission remains the greatest mass air evacuation of Allied airmen from behind enemy lines in the history of warfare.


C-47 transport planes waiting on the airfield at Pranjani, Serbia
to evacuate the fallen airmen who were rescued during
the Halyard Mission, August 10, 1944. Newspaper source unknown.

The complete story of the Halyard Mission was first published in BLUE BOOK Magazine in Vol. 83, No. 4, in August of 1946. I still have a copy of that article. It is unbelievable what was accomplished. In all, General Mihailovich was responsible for saving over 500 American airmen through this rescue mission and others that followed through the end of 1944. The sad aspect of this story is that Tito and the Partisans captured Mihailovich after the war, and on trumped up charges and refusing the rescued airmen’s repeated offer to testify at the trial in Belgrade, found the General guilty of treason in what turned out to be a phony kangaroo trial and had him executed on July 17, 1946. Over 25 of the rescued airmen, including myself, formed the “National Committee of American Airmen Rescued by General Mihailovich” and attempted for many years to have a monument erected in Washington, D.C., with our assurance that we would fund the monument ourselves, without requesting Government financing, to honor the General for what he did for us Americans, but without success, mainly because of the politics surrounding the situation in Yugoslavia during and after the war. That no such monument yet stands in Washington, D.C. haunts me still.

....Though my flying days were over long ago, I continue to remain grateful today for the many things I experienced over the course of my military career in the U.S. Air Force and wouldn't trade any of it for anything in the world. I remain especially grateful to the Serbian people, their beloved General Draza Mihailovich, and his Chetniks soldiers for saving not only my life, but the lives of over 500 of my countrymen.

I think of those days often. I’m proud to have served and will never forget the people in faraway lands that got me home safe and sound to serve another day.

Milton E. Friend
Lt. Col. USAF (Ret.)

*****

NATIONAL COMMITTEE OF AMERICAN AIRMEN RESCUED BY GENERAL MIHAILOVICH, INC.
 
TESTIMONY OF MILTON E. FRIEND, LT. COL. USAF (RET) before the National Capital Memorial Advisory Committee National Capital Parks

Washington, D.C.

June 11, 1991

Mr. Chairman and Distinguished Committee Members:

My name is Milton E. Friend. I am a retired United States Air Force Lt. Colonel, and I am here today to speak in support of erecting a monument for the late General Draza Mihailovich, who with his Chetnik forces in Yugoslavia, saved over 500 American Airmen who had bailed out or crashed in Yugoslavia during 1944. I was shot down by German fighter planes after returning from a raid on the Ploesti Oil Fields in Rumania, while flying as a navigator on a B-24 Liberator Bomber, on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

It is over 47 years since that fateful day. Nothing that has occurred since then will lessen my determination to repay my, and that of my WWII companions, debt of gratitude to General Mihailovich. General Mihailovich was a great leader, a great humanitarian, and an outstanding friend of the United States. The General saved my life, and hundreds of other Americans, and we will forever be indebted to him and his Chetniks.

Immediately upon landing after bailing out of a burning B-24 just after 11:00 a.m. on June 6th, I was picked up by Serbian townspeople, and after the rest of my crew members (nine of the remaining ten – the nose gunner was killed during the fighter attack) were rounded up, we were taken out of the area by the Chetnik soldiers to avoid the German patrols that had seen our parachutes and were searching the area. We were taken into the mountains under the protection of the Chetnik soldiers, hidden and fed, and moved as was necessary to avoid the Germans. When it was safe, we were moved under the protection of Mihailovich’s forces from the mountains to the village of Pranjani in Serbia for eventual evacuation to Italy.

It was at Pranjani that I was fortunate enough to meet the General. When I met with the American Escape Committee at Mihailovich’s Headquarters to obtain maps of the area for the future evacuation, General Mihailovich spoke to us at length (in French, which was then translated by one of his staff into English) about his plans after the war for a democratic form of Government in Yugoslavia. He told us that when the time came, and the Allies returned to Yugoslavia, his forces would sacrifice their lives, if necessary, for the American and Allied cause.

I and over 200 Allied airmen were evacuated from the Chetnik built airfield at Pranjani on August 9th and 10th, 1944. Each of us owes him this debt of gratitude and recognition for saving our lives. We have been pursuing this cause for over 20 years. As we grow older, and our numbers decrease, it becomes more difficult, but those of us who are left will never give up trying.

On March 29th, 1948, President Truman, on the recommendation of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, awarded the Legion of Merit to General Draza Mihailovich in recognition of his service to the Allied cause. Among other things, President Truman’s citation said about Mihailovich:

‘Through the undaunted efforts of his troops, many United States airmen were rescued and returned safely to friendly control.’

But for the first and only time in history, this award of the Legion of Merit was classified and kept secret. The facts about the award were not made public until Congressman Edward J. Derwinski of Illinois intervened in 1967 – almost 20 years after the event – to oblige the State Department to make public the text of President Truman’s citation.

We initially petitioned Congress for permission to erect a monument on public land in 1976 as a way of expressing our gratitude to the man who saved our lives. Legislation has been introduced in ever session of Congress since then. It has twice passed the Senate by voice vote and has had as many as ninety cosponsors in the House of Representatives, but each time it has been turned down by the Department of State, with the argument that the Yugoslav communist government might not like it. Isn’t it time to ask what the 500 rescued airmen and the United States Government might like? Though are ranks are becoming thinner, we will continue our efforts, because we owe an inescapable moral debt to General Mihailovich.

Erection of a monument to recognize General Mihailovich’s rescue of the Allied airmen is long overdue. We respectfully ask for your support in this continuing effort. Thank you very much.

Milton E. Friend
Lt. Colonel, USAF (Retired)
National Committee of American Airmen Rescued by General Mihailovich

June 11, 1991

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If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com

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Thursday, August 07, 2014

Zahtev za rehabilitaciju Milana Nedića ponovo na razmatranju / "Blic - Tanjug" August 7, 2014

Blic Online
Tanjug
August 7, 2014

Beograd - Apelacioni sud u Beogradu naložio je beogradskom Višem sudu da ponovo razmotri zahtev za rehabilitaciju predsednika srpske vlade u vreme nemačke okupacije u Drugom svetskom ratu, generala Milana Nedića, pošto je ukinuo rešenje kojim je zimus taj zahtev odbačen kao neuredan.

Milan Nedić
 
Zahtev za rehabilitaciju Nedića odbačen je 7. februara ove godine jer je Viši sud smatrao da predlagači rehabilitacije nisu zainteresovana lica za podnošenje tog zahteva, ali je razmatrajući žalbu predlagača Apelacioni sud ukinuo to rešenje, objavljeno je na sajtu suda.
 
Zahtev su podneli Srpska liberalna stranka, odnosno njen pravni naslednik Srpski liberalni savet, Udruženje političkih zatvorenika i žrtava komunističkog režima i Aleksandar Nedić - praunuk Milana Nedića.
 
Viši sud je odbacio zahtev obrazloživši da uz njega predlagaci nisu dostavili dokaz, odnosno akt o osnivanju iz kojeg proizlazi da su navedeni predlagači zainteresovana lica za podnošenje zahteva za rehabilitaciju.
 
Takođe, jer je predlagač Srpska liberalna stranka brisana iz registra političkih organizacija čime je izgubila status pravnog lica, kao i jer je punomoćnik predlagača obavestio sud da je prestao da obavlja advokatsku delatnost.
 
Pored toga, na rocisštu od 27. septembra 2013. godine nije pristupio pravni zastupnik Udruženja političkih zatvorenika žrtava komunističkog režima(koji je u medjuvremenu preminuo).
 
Apelacioni sud je u obrazloženju naveo da prvostepeni sud nije u potpunosti utvrdio sve činjenice i okolnosti i nije dao jasne razloge za svoj zakljucak, ne ceneći pri tom da u spisima predmeta postoji punomoćje drugog advokata, koji je punomoćnik Srpske liberalne stranke, Udruženja politickih zatvorenika žrtava komunistickog režima.
 
"Uvažžavanjem žalbe punomoćnika predlagača, prvostepeno rešenje moralo da bude ukinuto i predmet vraćen prvostepenom sudu na ponovni postupak", naveo je Apelacioni sud.
 
Zahtev za rehabilitaciju podnet je sudu pre šest godina, 2008. godine.
 
Podnosioci zahteva za rehabilitaciju tvrde da je Nedić bio žrtva progona i nasilja, i da je 1946. godine ubijen, odnosno da nije izvršio samoubistvo, kako je tada zvanično saopšteno.
 
Mediji su preneli da je u zahtevu stoji da je neprihvatljiva ocena komunističkih vlasti da je Nedić izdajnik i da je kriv za stradanje Srba u vreme okupacije, već da se zalagao za to da Srbi sa ostalih područja nekadašnje Jugoslavije, njih oko 600.000, pređu na teritoriju Srbije i tako budu zaštićeni od likvidacije.
 

http://www.blic.rs/Vesti/Drustvo/486164/Zahtev-za-rehabilitaciju-Milana-Nedica-ponovo-na-razmatranju


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If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com

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