Mogadishu, 4th November 2019 – The Italian National Unity and Armed Forces Day took place at the International Campus within Mogadishu International Airport at the presence of the Italian Ambassador to Somalia, H.E. Mr. Alberto Vecchi, and the EUTM Somalia Mission Force Commander, Brigadier General Antonello De Sio.

The celebration was organized by the Commander of the Italian National Support Element, Lieutenant Colonel Licio Dettori, who have kindly requested the participation of all the Italian personnel to celebrate this significant day.

The Italian National Unity and Armed Forces Day was established in 1919 to commemorate the Italian victory in World War I, an event considered to complete the national unification process. The 4th of November remember, the date of entry into force of the armistice of Villa Giusti (signed on 3rd November 1918) and of the surrender of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Established in 1919, the 4th November celebration is the only National holiday that has spanned decades of Italian history. In 1921, on the occasion of the celebration of National Unity and Armed Forces Day, the Unknown Soldier was solemnly buried at the Altar of the Fatherland in Rome.

On the 4th November the highest Offices of the State pay tribute to the Unknown Soldier (as previously said at the Altar of the Fatherland) and visit the Shrine of Redipuglia, where the bodies of the 100,000 Italian soldiers who died in the First World War are kept, as well as in Vittorio Veneto, where the last and decisive battle of the armed conflict between the Italian Army and the imperial Austro-Hungarian Army took place.

Normally, during the ceremony a crown is placed in honour of the Italian dead and are read two messages of greetings and gratitude, received by the President of the Italian Republic and from the Minister of Defence.

In his speech, the Mission Force Commander highlighted the importance of the celebration of the 4th November as the day where all the Italian militaries completed the long dream of unity of the Nation and has addressed a thoughts to all those that lost their lives during this significant page of history.

Brig.Gen. De Sio express his gratitude to Italy for being the main Troop Contributing Country in EUTM-S and thanked all the Italian Contingent for the continuous efforts, professionalism and dedication to the Mission.

Italian Ambassador, addressed words of appreciation for all the Italian personnel present at the ceremony and operating in this area in support of the Somali Defence institutions.

Italian personnel cover several and pivotal positions in the Headquarters, performing advising, mentoring and training activities as well as Force Protection Unit’s tasks. The Contingent is completed with a dedicated National Support Element.