Damir Rados



Croatian emigre communities have always been characterized by their altruistic work and struggle for the improvement of life of the average Croatian citizen. Through decades, often facing difficult challenges, devoid of any personal interest except almost naïve love for their native country, often paying for such behavior a high price, these good people subordinated their own needs and interests to the thesis of freedom and independence of Croatia.

4 th of April of this year marked a pertinent formal signing of a document in the city of Sacramento, California, 54 years ago. The year was 1968. In the native Croatian homeland there were captivating debates among the students, workers and intellectuals. The Declaration on Language which had galvanized every person who understood its depth and meaning had not yet attained its first year of life. None of the patriots like Budiša, Čičak, Veselica or Gotovac even suspected that soon they would be paraded through communist state

courts, or even less believed that they would be defended in the free world, on

American television, by Croatian residents of Northern California.

On the other side of the ocen, USA was undergoing rapid and drastic social

changes: Senator Bobby Kennedy had announced his candidacy for president of the country not suspecting that he would be assassinated two months later. At the same time, Martin Luther King, a champion of human rights, was assassinated on the same day of signing of the California document , April the 4 th. Within this context it was difficult to be a Croatian patriot in exile; indeed, much more than it is so today. The pressure on the Croatian individuals and communities was exercised by the entire federal establishment, the diplomatic, financial and news elites, and particularly so the diplomatic consular representatives of communist Yugoslavia. 

Despite all these adversities, with persistence and clear argumentation, a group of patriots succeeded in presenting, clarifying and by pure argumentation fully defending the presentation of the project Proclamation of the Croatian Statehood Day in California. 

Follows the text of the document:

Signing the document of the proclamation of Croatian Statehood in California in 1968, from left to right:

Tadija (Ted) Pavic, Ca Rep. Crandall, Fr. Petar Topic, Governor Ronald Reagan, Nikola Kirigin.

From left to right: Parliamentarian Crandall, Tadija “Ted” Pavić,

Ivka Barilović, Gov.Ronald Reagan, Nikola Kirigin-Chargin, Fra. Petar Topić.

Executive Department

   State of California

                     P R O C L A M A T I O N

Whereas       The Croatian nation, ever since its early beginning in the

                      Seventh century, has had to fight to preserve freedom and

                      Independence, and in the pursuit of democratic processes

                      created, more than a thousand years ago, one of the oldest

                      elected parliamentary bodies, the Sabor; and

Whereas        Croatia is presently subjected to force and terror exerted by

                       Yugoslavia which has prevented the election of representatives

                       to the Sabor and has deprived Croatians of the basic human

                       rights of self-determination, free elections, economy, culture,

                       religion, and even language; and

Whereas         More than 150,000 Americans of Croatian descent live in

                       California, participating in economic, cultural and political

                       developments of the Golden State and always maintaining their

                       vigilance against Communist aggression by sharing their

                       knowledge and experience;


do hereby proclaim April 10 th as the CROATIAN INDEPENDENCE DAY to

honor these Californians and invite all citizens to give renewed devotion to just

aspirations of all people for national independence and human liberty.


hereunto set my hand and

caused the Great Seal of the 

State of California to be affixed

here this 4 th day of April One 

Thousand Nine Hundred Sixty


Follows the signature of Ronald Reagan, Governor

and testimony signature of Secretary of State

Follows the Great Seal of the State of California

The unique importance of this document is that it came into being two decades before its time. Governor Ronald Reagan later became one of the most successful presidents of the United States; together with Pope Paul and Premier Margaret Thatcher, he was the most important participant in the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Determined patriots make conditions; 

they do not allow themselves become victims of circumstances


                                                                                       Damir Rados

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