To mark Macedonia’s Army’s 31st anniversary, a ceremony will be held Friday at the Army Stadium in the City Park in Skopje, with top state and military officials set to attend.

President and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces Stevo Pendarovski will award 13 army members with a medal for participating in humanitarian or peace operations outside the country, a recognition awarded for the first time in the country’s history.

Medals of courage will be awarded to 60 soldiers who took part in the search and rescue efforts in Turkey after the country’s devastating earthquake.

Also, army officers will be promoted to the rank of general and to the rank of colonel.

President Pendarovski, Minister of Defense Slavjanka Petrovska, and Prime Minister Dimitar Kovachevski will give speeches at the event.

High official delegations will visit the Butel cemetery to honor late presidents Boris Trajkovski, Kiro Gligorov, and World War II commander General Mihajlo Apostolski.

August 18 is celebrated as the day of the Army to honor the first organized military formation in Macedonia in WWII, the Mirche Acev battalion founded on Mount Slavej in the country’s southwest on August 18, 1943. A delegation from the Army will lay flowers at the Mount Slavej memorial.