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Republic of Slovenia 25th Independence Day

Republic of Slovenia 25th Independence Day
Cleveland City Hall Rotunda
June 10, 2016

The 25th anniversary of the creation of the Republic of Slovenia in 1991 was celebrated in the Rotunda of Cleveland City Hall on Friday June 10, 2016.

Slovenian Consul General Andrej Gregor Rode welcomed the crowd to the celebration of the 25th anniversary of Slovenian independence in the Rotunda of Cleveland City Hall.

Slovenian Consul General Andrej Gregor Rode

Slovenian Consul General Andrej Gregor Rode

Slovenian Consul General Andrej Gregor Rode


Consul General Rode then introduced the Zarja Singing Society, the oldest Slovenian choral group in the world outside of Slovenia, which led the Slovenian and US national anthems.

(As always, we encourage you to watch the videos full screen. Click on the icon in the lower right of the video screen to maximize.)

Zarja Singing Society leading the national anthems

Zarja Singing Society leading the national anthems

Zarja Singing Society leading the national anthems



Next, Slovenian Consul General Andrej Gregor Rode told about Slovenians coming to Cleveland in the 1880's and thanked Mayor Jackson for his support and presented him with a book.

Mayor Frank Jackson and Slovenian Consul General Andrej Gregor Rode

Mayor Frank Jackson and Slovenian Consul General Andrej Gregor Rode


Mayor Frank Jackson then made his remarks.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson



Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson


Senator George Voinovich was next to speak and he gave some historical perspective on Slovenia's independence.

Senator George Voinovich

Senator George Voinovich

Senator George Voinovich



Senator George Voinovich

Senator George Voinovich


Councilman Mike Polensek spoke next.

Councilman Mike Polensek

Councilman Mike Polensek



Councilman Mike Polensek


Former Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman was next to speak.

Former Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman

Former Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman



Mr. Gorazd Zmauc, Minister of the Republic of Slovenia for Slovenians Abroad, spoke next.

Gorazd Zmauc, Minister of the Republic of Slovenia for Slovenians Abroad

Gorazd Zmauc, Minister of the Republic of Slovenia for Slovenians Abroad



Former Slovenian Consul General Dr. Zvone Žigon spoke next and presented proclamations to Rose Marie (Macek) Jisa, president of Slovenian Genealogy Society International, Douglas Elersich, leader of the Zarja Singing Society and others.

Former Slovenian Consul General Dr. Zvone Zigon

Former Slovenian Consul General Dr. Zvone Zigon



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The Slovenian Singing Society Zarja has been singing since 1916. They performed two songs to end the program. This song is called 'I am Slovenian'.

Slovenian Singing Society Zarja

Slovenian Singing Society Zarja



Their second song was described by Douglas Elersich as "their theme song" and the audience clapped along.

Slovenian Singing Society Zarja



The formal program ended but the guests enjoyed Slovenian wine and food as they mingled.

View photos of the people at the Slovenian Independence event

NOTE: Sadly, Senator George Voinovich passed away Sunday morning June 12, 2016. He loved the Cultural Gardens, especially the Slovenian and Serbian Gardens of his heritage, and at an event in the Gardens Sunday morning several tributes were paid to the Mayor/Governor/Senator from Chris Ronayne, president of University Circle Inc., Sheila Crawford, president of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation, Paul Burik, past-president of the CCGF and Erika Puussar from the Estonian Garden speaking for the Baltic (Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian) community. A moment of silence was also observed.

Watch the video tributes to Senator George Voinovich

View photos of people at the Slovenian Independence Day event

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