Italian National Day Festivities Dampened By Death Toll from Recent Earthquakes in Northern Italy
June 5, 2012 ~ The annual Italian National Day celebration, or Festa della Repubblica, held at the Italian Embassy in Washington DC, on June 4th, was, as Italian Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero noted in his brief remarks, "tinged with a more somber note." As the more than 1,500 guests entered the Embassy grounds they could clearly see that the Italian flag was flying at half-mast in memory of the victims of the recent earthquake in the Emilia-Romagna and nearby regions.
Bisogniero said that "the Italian government decided to observe today as a National day of Remembrance, dedicated to the victims of the earthquake and to show consideration of the thousands left in distress and homeless." He then asked the guest to join in a moment of silence.
Bisogniero told the guests that "the US government and all the people of this great country have shown once again, even in this moment, how deep is the friendship between the United States and Italy. A friendship that is based on our regard for the values of freedom, liberty, family and human dignity. A friendship that is nurtured on a daily basis by the depth of our political and economic cooperation and by the millions of visitors traveling between Italy and the United States. A friendship that is well represented by your presence here for our National Day."
Among the many guests at the event, as Ambassador Bisogniero mentioned was Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Although the usual showcase of Italian excellence was somewhat curtailed, guests enjoyed Italian food specialties, a selection of fine Italian wine supported by Vinitaly, sweets from Ferrero, gelato from Pitango, coffee from Lavazza, and a display of arms manufactured by Beretta. by Beretta.