by Giancarlo Capozzoli
and Margherita Chiara Immordino Tedesco
The appointment is at 7 am in Piazza della Repubblica, Rome. When the bus made available by the organization leaves, I exchange a few lines with the staff of the Press Office of the Defense Staff to follow my work.
In the previous days, we had already met to determine how best to proceed.
When we arrive at the military base of guidonia, preparations are already under way for the rehearsals for the parade of the armed forces on June 2, in Via dei Fori Imperiali, in Rome, on the occasion of the Republic Day.
The intention is to collect the voices and testimonies not only of the most institutional representatives of the Armed Forces, but also of the participants in this celebration.
The boys and girls, the men and women who have made as a decision, as a life choice, which becomes real everyday life, that of wearing a uniform. These men and women have chosen to invest their daily lives and their personal design in the service of their neighbour, of the State.
Such a decision cannot fail to be made with genuine dedication and a spirit of service and sacrifice.
The operations center is under a tent along the runway in the military airport. I leave my things there, and I head to the many companies preparing for the parade.
It’s early in the morning and the weather threatens rain.
Thousands of young people, proud in their uniforms and armed with hopes and looks that overcome obstacles, are preparing to march. They form compact ranks and advance in martial steps. When they break ranks and break apart, you see serene faces and looks, a moment before, attentive and tense in the commands and orders to be executed.
The majors perform ritual inspections.
In the perfect harmony of the formations in trim, as they parade, I try to stop the faces of the younger ones. And I wonder about their choice, the decision that led them to wear a uniform.
This sense of belonging, this spirit of service that comes to me immediately, I think is the answer.
The Feast of June 2 is then the Feast of these men. It’s the inclusion not only in the party, but even more within the social fabric of Republican reality, the Armed Forces.
For all intents and purposes.
It’s a celebration to make the daily, and not always so clear, work of the Armed Forces recognizable, visible: the defense of the territory, the contribution to security and international cooperation, the safety of society and the prevention of crime.
Over 4000 people are involved in the preparation of this parade, which is already a party.
The companies of Army, Navy, Air Force, Carabinieri, Guardia di Finanza, Police, Paralympics, Red Cross and other components of the active forces of the State parade in the rain with martial step.
The end of the first test is the opportunity to meet some of the participants.
Chiara bergamini is very young, but her young age does not hide her preparation and dedication that emerge from her words. It is very clear and direct. It is Lieutenant of Vascello, of the Saint Mark Brigade, the Regiment.
He tells me very clearly about his choice of military life, matured since high school. Now it is part of the 1st Amphibious Department, the foot soldiers of the sea on land, and it is clear how much its formation and its course of studies we specialized.
There’s no time to delve into his further specializations with the Marines and NATO, because his company is resuming rehearsals.
He is Lieutenant of Vascello, Naval Engineer, and he is an architect who for years had been working through a company of construction, infrastructure and shipyards. After some years of waiting from the question, it has been recalled in service like reservist and now takes care, among other things, of infrastructures in the within of the Navy, and is recalled every time, to second of the requirements that arise.
Annalisa Di blasi is a very young Lieutenant of the Guardia di Finanza. You will be surprised to hear immediately what is your decision and your dedication to the State. He joined the Academy in order to fight effectively the underworld, especially in the economic field. Immediately after graduation he began to deal with tax evasion, crime prevention. She has also been very concerned with social work, which is that daily work and less visible. It also dealt with the increasingly widespread phenomenon that is the foreman.
She’s very young, but she’s already gained experience in the counterterrorism operations department.
The I Marshal Christian Wiersdorf is 52 years old and has been part of the Air Force for 32 years.
The Marshal I is a decoy.
He’s a huge man, and he’s got a nice, honest, slightly sly smile as he tells himself, serious and confident. They who are operating, everywhere and however, it is as if they have learned to joke too. On the other hand today is a party.
The rescue aircraft, the I Marshal tells me, train to bring aid everywhere. Land and sea. The training they are obliged to undertake is hard and tiring, but also necessary, as is their every intervention. Hard training courses involving both the use of weapons and the emergency room.
The theatres in which they operate are, on the other hand, as different as in Albania, and in Iraq. Operating theatres in which they have mainly played the role of medical evacuation of civilians and military. Or like when they intervened to rescue burning Norman Atlantic passengers in 2014.
The I Marshal tells me not without pain the interventions in L’Aquila and rigopiano.
His words say of enormous personal and family sacrifices also, and they also say of equal satisfaction, to be in the service of someone.
At the end of our conversation he shows me the Jolly symbol of their company: they are a special force that comes together from time to time to those who request the performance.
Even Caporal Maggiore Scelto, Francesco izzo, assisted L’Aquila, like II Reggimento alpini. Their training is mostly in the mountains, he tells me.
He decided to serve permanently after high school in the army. In spite of duties and toils, belonging to a body proudly determines its choice of life.
For him, military life means precise rules and satisfaction. Far beyond even a certain economic independence is the awareness of a life committed to serving someone else to something greater: a life of hard daily training and missions abroad that have led and also involve personal growth in function of specific training in certain operating theatres.
Military life is also the ability to develop acuity and sensitivity to move in certain territories during patrols and patrols.
The Paralympic Defense Sports Group has as its motto Per aspera ad Astra, Attraverso le difficoltà, verso le stelle, says Marco iannuzzi, Lieutenant Colonel of the Air Force.
After an on-duty incident, it can no longer be operational. For some years he has been involved in research in the field of technology, especially in the medical field, for Italian Defense.
We shelter from the thickest rain under a tent. The Lieutenant tells me with a surprising serenity and awareness of his current life, his projects, his choices, his immediate future. This new life at the service of the State.
He and the whole paralympic team will be competing for the first time during the party.
The rehearsals are coming to an end and it’s time to return to Rome.
It’ll be their party, too.
The night rehearsals take place in the centre of Rome, at the Imperial Fora. It will be the general rehearsal of the festival.
The centre of Rome is armored for the necessary security measures, for the conduct of the event.
The commanders of the various companies coordinated by the General Staff, work to ensure that all operations are carried out in the best possible way.
It’s night, and at least it’s not raining. I recognize the faces I encountered in guidonia.
General Alessandro Albamonte will not be part of the Paralympic Sports Group of the Defence. We have written to each other in the past few days to get your feedback on the Republic Day.
I had him tell me his story: he was the Chief of Staff of the Parachute Brigade, when a few days before his 41 birthday, a bomb package exploded in his office in the Barracks, in Livorno.
In the bombing, he lost the use of his left eye and almost completely his right eye.
I asked him the meaning and the sense of belonging to a Military Corps, just as a symbol of what he had to undergo as such.
From what emerged in our exchange, it seemed clear to me that the General did not fall down but rather, His propensity to fight pushed him to immediately immerse himself in his new reality and to accept it without forgetting what he is and has been.
In addition to the family environment, the military environment and its work have contributed to his recovery. Everyone continued to see in him that reliable and operational and available point of reference that he has always been.
To this must be added the path of the Paralympic Sports Group of Defense: meetings and always stimulating comparisons with the other members of the group, have stimulated that path of recovery that each of them stimulates in the recovery of the other. As a team, you know.
Like an actual company.
What it means to wear a uniform today, I wonder as they parade in the background of the chiaroscuro of the late night, thousands of boys and girls.
To this same question General Albamonte had told me about the coffee divided hastily with the comrades of department, far from everything, and from everything that leads to the idea of home, to tell me of that spontaneous and disinterested self-denial that involves wearing a uniform, that military identity taken with a conscious choice and shaped by the oath of fidelity.
The concepts that the General has expressed to me are concepts much wider and deeper than a simple response to an operational mission. From his words emerges the feeling of being part of a State of which and with which it concurs to guarantee, protect, consolidate and maintain the Defense.
It is 5 o’clock in the morning and the rehearsals are about to end. We head towards the beginning of Via Cavour. It’s almost dawn, when we meet with the staff of the Department of Public Information and Communications of the Joint Chiefs of Defense.
We are all tired. While we stop in a cafe, for a greeting, I ask them, satisfied with the evidence just finished, what it means on June 2.
Their answers, especially the older ones, show the same passion as when they embarked on their careers. For them, June 2 is to feel part of a body and to set themselves as a model and example for their younger colleagues, compared to the values and principles that guided them in their journey.
June 2 is also taking the same responsibility for new assignments and projects.
Far beyond the official role of the institution, they remind me how this two June, as every year, contains in itself different meanings: the 73°Birthday of the Republic is joined this year the commemoration of 70° anniversary of the entry of’Italy into NATO, the largest and longest-lasting military political alliance in the world, and the twenty-year law 380 with which, On October 20, 1999, our country opened the doors of the Armed Forces to the recruitment of female personnel.
June 2, however, is the feast of the whole nation and of all the Italian people; a celebration in which all the active members participate, military and civil society, bearing witness to the solid and lasting bond that unites them and contributes to the progress and prosperity of our country.
The appointment is at 6:00 in the morning.
It’s dawn on Rome. Slowly via dei Fori Imperiali is filling with the colors and uniforms of the Festival.
The military, the authorities, the journalists, the photographers.
It is a hot day.
When the President of the Republic arrives rolling is the signal that the defilation can begin.
And it really is a party, their party, the party of these soldiers carabinieri seamen police officers crocerossine pilots, from the simplest rank to the highest ranks.
The theme this year is inclusion. Inclusion as recognizability and visibility and respect of the Armed Forces, even more linked to that territory to which they belong.
It is men and women who have chosen to serve the state.