It couldn’t be helped. Despite arriving a couple of minutes before the Kings and leaving almost at the same time, thus hiding behind Don Felipe and Doña Letizia. Despite the fact that there are no longer screens for spectators to follow the act in the surrounding streets and to identify the president or other ‘targets’ of the boos. Despite the fact that the stage where the presidential and authorities’ rostrum was located is increasingly shielded and cleared from the public.
Despite the ‘peses’ … the audible whistle – at times very sharp – to Pedro Sánchez could not be avoided when his position was heard on the public address system: “the President of the Government.” It was time to greet the Kings and that formal and institutional act was involved in shouts of “Resign”, “out”, “traitor”, “parasite” and other very rude insults. Most came from balconies in an adjacent building.
Initial attempt without Sánchez
It was an expected start in the Plaza de Lima in Madrid, next to the Santiago Bernabéu, for the central acts of the National Holiday Day which, unlike last year due to the pandemic, featured an aerial and ground military parade.
Already before the initial greeting, there was an attempt to whistle a minister or because of the belief that Pedro Sánchez was arriving. It ended up affecting the first time the national anthem was played, dulling everything. An event ten days ago in Córdoba, in which the head of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, was booed booedly, raised concerns that the 12-O would also reproduce the same pattern. It was, but only at the beginning and at the end. The central act was largely respected.
It seems like a curse that has haunted the 12-O parade since the time of President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, no matter how much the organization – the Ministry of Defense – insists on seeking effects and tricks to minimize the hubbub. Especially when the president is a socialist, everything has to be said.
Those whistles stopped with the first applause and cheers to the King, in uniform of captain general of the Army, and the Queen. Also to the Infanta Sofía. At this point it must be remembered that Princess Leonor could not attend because his presence forced him to keep a quarantine of five days on his return to the school of Wales -UWC Atlantic College- where he studied first of Baccalaureate. Which made him miss school days.
With the parade, citizens once again turned to their Armed Forces wearing the national flag on such a significant day: October 12 or 529 years after some sailors, mostly from Huelva and Sevillians, shouted that of «Land in sight! » led by Christopher Columbus.
Controversy over the flag
Hispanidad, National Holiday or 12-O, yesterday was the Day of the first parade after the stabilization of the coronavirus pandemic in Spain. Disappearing will not have disappeared but the effects of the Covid-19 virus are minor and allowed the organization of a military parade with 2,656 military and civil personnel, 68 aircraft and more than 115 vehicles of the Army and Navy, as well as the Civil Guard, National Police, Maritime Rescue and Tax Agency. Yes, the Treasury is already present in these types of parades.
The act began with the military honors to the Kings, the magazine of Felipe VI to the honors battalion, the salute to authorities, the impeccable paratrooper jump with the flag by the Air Force Parachute Acrobatic Patrol, the subsequent hoisting and tribute to the national flag and the act to those who gave their lives for Spain.
After the chords of ‘Death is not the end’, the first pass of the Eagle Patrol took place, with the colors of the national flag: red-yellow-red. However, the mixture of the color in one of the nozzles of the C-101 Aviojet made the color more intense, turning to ‘red wine’ or purple, which was the delight of Republican commentators or socialists on Twitter (it was the case of Pablo Churches). Air Force sources blamed the optical effect or the color change to “a failure in the dye mixture”, although it was reiterated that in the area of the parade, “live”, it looked good.
The Eurofighter or F-18 fighters, the A400M and C-295 transport planes, the NH-90 or Chinook helicopters were some of those that paraded alongside the fire extinguishers of the Air Force.
The land parade brought together the biggest ovations from the attendees who surrounded the outskirts of the Plaza de Lima. The shouts of “Long live Spain” or “Long live the Armed Forces” as well as “Long live the King” could be heard from the press box.
Despite being announced, the new 8×8 armored vehicle of the Army did not finally parade. There were no tanks either.
The Ram Puzzle
The steps of the Legion and its Puzzle ram, the Parachute Brigade, the Regulares, the Mountain units, the Royal Guard, the Military Emergency Unit or the Civil Guard were the most applauded in a crowded tour of people (except for the area of authorities) that ran along the axis of La Castellana from Cuzco to Nuevos Ministerios.
In the parade of units on foot they participated four clusters. The first began the parade of the units on foot with the Royal Guard with its three companies ‘Monteros de Espinosa’, made up of soldiers from the Army, ‘Mar Océano’, made up of military personnel from the Navy, and ‘Plus Ultra’, with troops from the Air Force.
For its part, the second group was formed by a battalion of the Navy, with two companies from the Tercio de Armada; a battalion of the Air Force, made up of an Air Deployment Support Squadron (EADA) and a Squad of Air Force Parachute Sappers (Ezapac). This Group also incorporated a company from the Emergency Intervention Battalion of the UME and a company from the Reserve and Security Group of the Civil Guard.
The third group had a company from the Parachute Brigade, one from the Galicia 64 Mountain Hunters Regiment, another from the King’s Immemorial Regiment number 1, and another from the Alcántara Regiment.
Finally, the fourth grouping was made up of units of specific passage, this time, two companies of the Third Great Captain of the Legion and two companies of the Ceuta 54 Regulars Group.
In the retina of the citizens are the 19 months of hectic activity of the Armed Forces on missions against the coronavirus, the storm Filomena, the crisis on the Ceuta border with Morocco, the evacuations in Afghanistan or the volcanic activity on the island of La Palma.
Once the act was finished, the Chief of the Defense Staff, Admiral General Teodoro López Calderón, gave news to the King. Then the Kings, accompanied by the President of the Government and the Minister of Defense, greeted the commanders of the units participating in the parade, which was led by Luis Sáez Rocandio, general of the Almogávares VI Paratroopers Brigade.
After this formal greeting the guests went to the Royal Palace for the reception of the Kings, which this year was also resumed with strict sanitary measures.