Like every year, this year too on November 4, Italy celebrated a day of national unity to commemorate the allied forces’ victory in World War I and to pay homage to the brave Italian forces that laid down their lives for the sake of their country in the war.
In the anniversary of the victory of WWI, the country also remembers the culmination of the process of Independence finally completed with the annexation of the cities of Trento and Trieste and pays honour to the fallen.
Defence Attache Embassy of Italy, Col Giuseppe Potenza and Ambassador Stefano Pontecorvo along their wives received the guests who had come to greet them and the staff of the Italian embassy and all those Italian nationals working in Pakistan on the historic occasion. Lt Gen Qazi Muhammad Ikram Ahmed was the chief guest on the occasion while among the noted guests included senior officers of the Pakistan Armed forces, ambassadors and high commissioners, defence attaches and deputy heads of missions. In his welcome address, Col Giuseppe Potenza paid rich tributes to the Italian forces that took part in the WW I and won laurels for the country.
“Our highest gratitude goes to those who laid down their lives in WW I but kept the Italian flag soaring high. In the World War I around 10 million lives were lost and number of the Italian casualties was around 700,000 he said. Today, Italy stands in mourning and memory of its soldiers for their great sacrifices. A cake was also cut on the occasion to celebrate the 101st anniversary of the Armed Forces day (Nov 4, 1918) of Italy. Earlier, the event commenced with the national anthems of both the countries. A short documentary made on the achievements of ground, air and naval forces of Italy was also screened on the occasion.
The occasion has been celebrated for 100 years since making it one of Italy’s oldest national holidays and one of the few to be observed before, during and after the Fascist era. While protesters of the 1960s and ’70s objected to what they saw as the glorification of militarism and nationalism, the holiday survived, though celebrations became progressively smaller.
Italy declared the anniversary a holiday in 1919, dedicating it to its troops and the new territories for which they had fought. The incorporation of these areas, home to many ethnic Italians and Italian speakers, was seen by nationalists as completing the unification of Italy – hence the celebration of ‘national unity’.