June 2nd: happy birthday to the Italian Republic

ROME – The President of the Republic speaking of independence and freedom, the “Frecce Tricolori” flying across the sky of Rome while the highest authorities of the State lay a laurel wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Firefighters “spreading” the Tricolor from Colosseum and then the songwriter Claudio Baglioni singing the Italian Hymn accompanied by the Band of the Armed Forces: today, 2nd June, the Italian Republic celebrated its 78th birthday in a very… Italian way.

78 years have passed since June 2nd, 1946, when the referendum between the Monarchy and the Republic saw the latter win. A Republic projected towards Europe, right from its first steps.

“The Fathers of the Homeland were aware of the risks and limits of closure in national contexts and dreamed of an Italy open to Europe, close to the peoples who were fighting for their freedoms everywhere in the world” wrote the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella (in the pic belowwww.quirinale.it), in a message sent to the Chief of Defense Staff, Admiral Giuseppe Cavo Dragone, on the occasion of 2 June.

“Independence and freedom are achievements that must be defended every day, in communion of intent and with the ability to cooperate for the common good”, stated the President, adding that “celebrating the seventy-eight years of the birth of the Italian Republic recalls the values ​​of our identity and a far-sighted and wise Constitution, the result of the extraordinary rebirth that began with the Liberation struggle”.

Mattarella also wanted to underline that “our contribution – and in it the Armed Forces – to the cause of international peace and stability is more precious than ever in today’s situation characterized by devastation and aggression against civilian populations in Europe and the Middle East” .

Mattarella himself, today, at the Altare della Patria in Rome, placed a laurel wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Accompanied by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and the Minister of Defence, Guido Crosetto, the Head of State received the military honors of the joint forces battalion lined up in front of the monument, while the Frecce Tricolori colored the sky above it white-red-and-green Altar of the Fatherland (in the pics above and belowwww.quirinale.it).

Then Mattarella, on the historic Lancia Flaminia, went to via dei Fori Imperiali, in the center of Rome, for the traditional parade of the Armed Forces. Upon arrival, applause from the stands. And then so much emotion when the Roman singer-songwriter Claudio Baglioni, a true institution of the song of the Bel Paese, sang the Canto degli Italiani (the Mameli Hymn) accompanied by the Interforce Defense Band (in the pic belowscreenshot from Rai Tv). After the performance, Baglioni went up to the main stage to shake hands with a smiling Mattarella.

Even the Italian Firefighters, Vigili del Fuoco, as we said, they gave their contribution to the Republic Day: with a spectacular action, they “extended” from the Colosseum a flag measuring two thousand square metres, 50 meters by 40, weighing 450 kilograms. Record numbers, those of the tricolor flag which for the 78th anniversary of the Republic Day was lowered from the highest façade of the Colosseum by a contingent of seventy firefighters from all the regions of Italy (in the pic below, from Twitter X – @vigilidelfuoco).

To “dress” the Colosseum, “Saf” operators (the Alpine Fluvial Speleo group) of the Fire Brigade were employed, who studied and implemented a system of ropes over 2,000 meters long in total, anchored directly to the blocks of the amphitheater and mounted with protections without the use of nails or anchoring systems that could have damaged the monument. The lowering maneuvers were carried out by 24 firefighters, divided into groups of 8 corresponding to each of the three colors of the flag: for the first time, the team also included three female firefighters expert in rope maneuvers (in the pic below, from Twitter X – @vigilidelfuoco).

Another giant Tricolor instead fell from the sky, carried by Folgore paratroopers during the parade in Via dei Fori Imperiali (in the pics below, from Twitter X – @Esercito).

Finally, it is worth recording an attempted “break-in” on the Republic Day procession by some ‘Last Generation’ environmental activists, stopped by the police before they succeeded in their aim. Nothing strange: also this is very Italian.

Italy or Europe? A divisive dilemma

ROME – Republic Day, needless to say, divides rather than unites, as always happens in Italy, for everything. And so today too there was some (political) controversy over the centrality of Italy with respect to Europe (or vice versa).

“It is the celebration of our democracy, the celebration of our unity and our pride”, said Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, on the sidelines of the celebrations of June 2nd. “It is an important and extraordinary celebration. Very important also in this phase because we are in a situation in which many certainties that we had, such as peace, are in question and there is a need for the Republic and the Nation. There is a need for the State to face” the situation “with responsibility”, she added. “This day is also important because we are in an electoral campaign for the European elections and ultimately this celebration also reminds us of the first idea of ​​Europe, which was an idea of ​​Europe that imagined that its strength, the strength of its union, it was also the strength and specificity of national States. Perhaps we should return to that embryonic European idea and European dream”, underlined the prime minister.

But her deputy, Matteo Salvini, leader of the Lega, was decidedly less “diplomatic”. “Today is Republic Day, today is the day of the Italians, of the Republic, not of European sovereignty” Salvini said on Rai Tre, commenting on the tweet of another Lega’s member, Claudio Borghi who invoked the resignation of the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella. Borghi echoed a phrase that the Head of State pronounced on the eve of June 2nd, referring however to the imminence of the European elections: with the vote, Mattarella had said, “we consecrate European sovereignty”. Salvini followed his senator and extrapolating the phrase on sovereignty he said: “We have a President of the Republic because there is the Republic, I think of Europe as sovereign States that come together, but national sovereignty is fundamental, beyond the tweets today we are celebrating the Italian Republic. I will never give up on a European super State where those who have the money are in charge”.

Another Borghi, Enrico, group leader in the Senate of Italia Viva, intervenes to contest the Lega’s interpretation: “Lega, on Republic Day, even goes so far as to ask for the resignation of President Mattarella, distorting the words he uttered: this is an extremely serious fact that cannot go unnoticed”.

Italy, the country with the most disparate ideas, even in the day of its “birthday”: this too, after all, is a wealth.

Niagara Falls illuminated with the colors of the Italian flag

NIAGARA FALLS – On the occasion of the Italian Republic Day, the lighting of the majestic Niagara Falls with the colors of the Italian flag is scheduled for tonight, June 2nd, at 10 pm: a spectacle visible from both the Canadian and American sides of the Waterfalls.

“The choice to illuminate Niagara Falls with Italian colors – the Consul General of Italy Toronto, Luca Zelioli, says – represents a special homage to the history, culture and bond between the two countries. June 2nd is the day which Italy celebrates its Republic: the start of the Italian Heritage Month in Canada offers a unique opportunity for residents and visitors to celebrate friendship and collaboration together between Italy and Canada. It is a moment to reflect on shared ties, while also celebrating the variety of Italian culture in Canada”.

The initiative to illuminate the famous waterfalls with Italian colors was welcomed with great enthusiasm by both the Consulate General of Italy in Toronto and the Italian Cultural Institute and Comites.

In the pic above, the lighting of Niagara Falls with the “tricolor” on the occasion of the victory of the Italian national football team at the European Championships in July 2021 (photo from Twitter X – @NiagaraParks): an initiative strongly supported by the mayor of Niagara Falls , James Diodati, who is of Italian origins

And tomorrow the flag raising at Queen’s Park in Toronto

TORONTO – Flag raising ceremony, tomorrow, at 12.15 pm, at Queen’s Park (main south entrance) in Toronto, to celebrate Republic Day and the start of Italian Heritage Month in Canada.

“The idea of ​​the Flag Raising Ceremony – they explain from the Italian Consulate in Toronto, which organizes the event in collaboration with the Canadian Italian Heritage Fund – is to bring together Italian organizations and associations based in Ontario. Participation is however open to everyone, even without belonging to an organization”. There will also be associations of ex-combatants/military/police corps to honor the Italian flag.

Speakers will include the Consul General of Italy, Luca Zelioli (in the pic below, from the Italian Consulate website), the President of the Committee of Italians Abroad (Comites), Michela Di Marco, the President of the Toronto District of the National Congress of Italian-Canadians and the political representatives of Ontario.