Over 30,000 people have attended the military parade on Romania’s National Day in Bucharest on Friday when 3,500 troops and military of the Defence and Interior ministries and the Romanian Intelligence Service have marched displaying almost 350 technical means and military devices, including 50 aircrafts. An important number of soldiers of the allied countries have joined the Romanian troops’ parade.
President Klaus Iohannis, PM Mihai Tudose and other state officials were in the official tribune attending the parade at the Arch of Triumph. The two speakers of the Parliament’s chambers, Liviu Dragnea and Calin Popescu Tariceanu, also co-chairmen of the ruling coalition, haven’t been present.
Besides the Romanian president and premier, the National Defence Minister Mihai Fifor, the Internal Affairs Minister Carmen Dan, the National Anti-corruption Directorate’s head Laura-Codruta Kovesi, the Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar, the President of the Constitutional Court Valer Dorneanu, the Ombudsman Victor Ciorbea, representatives of the diplomatic corps accredited in Bucharest, representatives of the Army, veterans also attended the ceremony.
At the end of the parade, President Iohannis went to the crowd, saluted the participants and talked to them. He also shook hands and spoke for a few moments with PM Tudose and with the other ministers.
Initially, Liviu Dragnea and other Social Democrat members was allegedly supposed to attend the parade together with the Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu on the Kiseleff Boulevard near the HQs of their parties. Dragnea was expected to walk to the ALDE HQs where he was to meet Tariceanu and both to attend the parade from that spot. However, the PSD chairman has never showed up at ALDE HQs and Tariceanu didn’t go out of the building.
The speakers of the Senate and of the Chamber of Deputies have been invited by president Iohannis to attend the official military parade but they decided to decline the head of state’s invitation.
Instead, Dragnea and Tariceanu have attended the military and religious wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Carol Park, Bucharest previoulsy in the morning, an event also attended by the US Ambassador to Romania, Hans Klemm.
Ambassador Hans Klemm congratulated Romania on the National Day, recalling the sacrifice of national heroes who died for their country. “The U.S. expresses gratitude for the strategic partnership that we have with Romania. We wish Romanians peace, but at the same time, we celebrate next to them the unity that they enjoy as member of the trans-atlantic community. We also have to recall the sacrifice that Romanians have made to obtain all they have today. And this sacrifice has been huge, particularly in the past over 100 years. All our compliments and congratulations to Romania on its National Day!,” the U.S. ambassador said after the ceremony.
Land troops march, air show
Lieutenant General Adrian Tonea, Deputy Chief of Defence Staff, was Commander of the parade this year. Tonea’s father and grandfather are among the national heroes who fought for Romania. The commanders’ grandfather used to fight in the WWI 100 years ago, and his father fought in the WWII.
The troops of the Defence Ministry attending the parade wore the new combat suit adopted by the Romanian Army as of this year.
The land march kicked off with three squads that reminded of the military traditions of the Romanian people, including old tricolors and the military uniforms worn during the WWI.
Over 300 foreign military from Bulgaria, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Moldova, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, the U.S., Turkey and Ukraine, as well as military wounded in the operation theatres in the Western Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan joined the Romanian troops marching at the parade. Wounded military who have competed and won in the Invictus 2017 Paralympic Games in Canada, were also marching.
Meaningful official messages
President Klaus Iohannis said in the message delivered on the National Day that “December 1 represents our ideal as a nation to be free and united in a prosperous country, led by responsible and incorruptible politicians”, adding that “now, on the Centennial’s eve, it’s a good opportunity for us to reflect on how we want our country to look like”.
“Only together, involved and determined, we’ll succeed in building a strong Romania, that should be respected in Europe and worldwide. Happy National Day, Romanians! Happy National Day, Romania!,” said President Iohannis in a video message posted on Facebook on Friday morning.
In his turn, PM Tudose delivered congratulations to the people on our National Day, stating that “we are celebrating the National Day, the Great Union Day with the trust and hope that a new history page will be confirmed for Romania, for Romanians”.
“Our mission is to concretely contribute to Romania’s development and to provide better public services- high quality medical assistance, a performing education system, infrastructure adapted to the present needs and prosperity for every Romanian,” the prime minister said.
Romanian Royal Family also delivered a message on the National Day: ”Happy National Day, in a respected and prosperous Romania!”, while paying an homage “to the Romanian nation, which sacrificed its blood for the country’s union.”
Chamber speaker, PSD chairman Liviu Dragnea has stated on TV that some mistake partnerships for servility. “Let’s not forget to be sovereign, let’s not forget that Romania is ours and should remain ours,” he said, while transmitting the PSD members not to forget “they are the ones who won the elections and that they must fulfill the promises in the ruling programme, regardless of the dikes that are getting more and more visible”.
Previously in the day, Dragnea had posted on Facebook that “Romania must have an ideal, the ideal of a sovereign and prosperous country, respected in the world.”
Celebrations in Alba Iulia: Running and riding the bike
Other thousands of Romanians attended the military parade in Alba Iulia, the city of the Great Union. About 400 troops and 54 combat means have marched here to mark the National Day, with confetti being launched over those marching to mark the entrance in the Centennial year. Romania is celebrating 100 years since the Great Union next year.
20 persons ran for 33 kilometers to celebrate the National Day in Alba Iulia, following the initiative of a Romanian citizen of Magyar origin, Levente Polgar, who is promoting the harmony among ethnic groups.
A local from Lugoj, also of Magyar origin, Stefan Hodi came by bike to attend the parade in Alba Iulia. It is the 15th time he has been riding the bike from Lugoj to Alba Iulia on December 1 in the past 18 years. He had some clothes and a tricolor flag in his luggage. “Even if I am of Magyar origin, I feel I am a Romanian citizen,” Hodi confessed.
The Union train from Bucharest to Iasi, the Royal Train ride called off due the King’s condition
A special train, “the Union train” left Bucharest and arrived in Iasi on the National Day.This year, the CFR employees in the train wore traditional costumes. The train was welcomed in Iasi by people flying the national tricolor.
On the other hand, the symbolic ride by the Royal Train, also a tradition on the National Day celebrations has been cancelled due to King Michael’s precarious health condition.