The King and Queen presided this Saturday in Huesca over a massive parade for Armed Forces Day that has been enthusiastically welcomed by the citizens, who have flooded the city with Spanish flags and greeted Felipe VI and Doña Letizia with cheers.
The military parade began with the arrival of the King and Queen -the monarch in the uniform of Captain General of the Army-, received by the Defense Minister, Margarita Robles; and the president of Aragon, Javier Lambán; and greeted by the Chief of Defense Staff, Admiral General Teodoro López Calderón; and the mayor of the city, Luis Felipe.
The Interior Minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, also attended the parade; the director of the Civil Guard, María Gámez; the director of the National Intelligence Center (CNI), Esperanza Casteleiro; and the Minister of Education, Pilar Alegría, former Government delegate in Aragón; in addition to the military leadership and other civil and military authorities.
Prior to the arrival of the King and Queen, the flag was hoisted and paid homage to give way to the central act, with military honors to Their Majesties, King’s magazine to the Group of Honors, greetings from Don Felipe and Doña Letizia to the authorities , hoisting and tribute to the national flag and to those who gave their lives for Spain, with special mention to those who lost their lives in an act of service since the celebration of the last great parade in 2019.
The people of Huesca have filled the route from early in the morning to attend the largest military parade that has been held in Spain since the start of the pandemic. More than 3,200 soldiers, 154 vehicles and 69 aircraft have participated in the parade that has been held in Huesca, a city of 50,000 inhabitants.
From the balconies closest to the presidential gallery there have been numerous applause and cheers for Don Felipe and Doña Letizia, among which isolated reproaches have been mixed to the Minister of Defense, Margarita Robles, and even an allusion to the former director of the CNI, Paz Esteban, recently dismissed for the ‘Pegasus case’.
One of the most exciting moments of the parade was the landing of a parachutist from the PAPEA of the Air Force with the Spanish flag in the narrow street that hosts the parade, less than a hundred meters from the authorities’ tribune.
45 planes and 24 helicopters from the Air Force, the Army, the Navy and the Civil Guard participated in the air parade. One of the novelties is the participation for the first time of the ‘Pilatus’ training aircraft from the General Air Academy.
Specifically, the air parade will include helicopters, training planes, transport planes, fighter planes and also the applauded Patrulla Águila, which has once again painted the colors of the flag in the sky, although in this case the yellow smoke has taken on a whitish tone.
Then it was time for the motorized parade, with vehicles from the Armies and the Navy, the UME and the Civil Guard. In total there have been 17 armored-mechanized vehicles, 97 vehicles and 40 motorcycles. Among them has been present the usual representation of disabled people from the Armed Forces and the Civil Guard, among whom eight women have paraded.
It was in the parade on foot that the NATO flag made its appearance at the hands of two companies of the Royal Guard, just two days before the 40th anniversary of Spain’s incorporation into the Atlantic Alliance and a month before the celebration in Madrid of the Summit of the Atlantic Alliance. The flags of the 30 allied countries have also paraded.
Among the units that have paraded, the high mountain unit of the Army, based in Jaca, has been one of the most applauded among its neighbors. Also those of specific step, the Legion at 160 steps per minute (compared to the normal 124) and Regulars at 90 steps per minute. And the mascot, ‘Quillo’, a four-year-old bank sheep dressed in the Legion’s hat, the chapiri, has not been lacking.
Huesca has hosted the military parade two years later than initially planned as a result of the pandemic, which forced the Armed Forces Day to be reduced to austere military events in Madrid in its 2020 and 2021 editions.
BRINGING MILITIA AND SOCIETY CLOSER
The Day of the Armed Forces dates back to 1978, when it was established to carry out an institutional act that would serve as a tribute to the Armies and the Navy and that would serve to promote knowledge and its integration into society.
Its celebration usually coincides with the last weekend of May, the closest to the 30th, the festival of San Fernando, and revolves around a large military parade. However, there are numerous military activities that have been held throughout Spain during this week to commemorate it and especially in Huesca, which has hosted exhibitions, exhibitions and different recreational events.
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