|National Unity and Armed Forces Day|
Emblem of Italy
|Official name||Giornata dell'Unità Nazionale e delle Forze Armate|
|Next time||4 November 2019|
National Unity and Armed Forces Day is an Italian national day since 1919 which commemorates the victory in World War I. It's celebrated every 4 November, in the same day when armistice of Villa Giusti became effective in 1918 declaring Austria-Hungary's surrender.
Established in 1919, November 4th is the only Italian national holiday which has gone through decades of Italian history: from the liberal period to the fascism and the republican Italy. In 1921, during the National Unity and Armed Forces Day, the Unknown Soldier (Milite Ignoto) has been solemnly buried at the Altare della Patria in Rome.
In 1922, shortly after the march on Rome, the holiday changed its name in Anniversario della Vittoria (Victory Anniversary) to emphasize the Italian military power, while after the end of World War II, in 1949, the original meaning has been restored, becoming the celebration of Italian armed forces and the achievement of the Italian Unity.
In fact, after the WWI victory, Italy completed the national unification began with the Risorgimento, conquering Trento and Trieste. For that, WWI has been called the fourth Italian war of independence, although nowadays this definition has lost relevance.
November 4 has been a holiday until 1976. From 1977, during austerity, it became a moveable feast according to the calendar reform of national holidays introduced by law n. 54 of 5 March 1977, and celebrations occurred every first Sunday of November.
During the 1980s and 1990s, its importance declined but in the 2000s, thanks to the impulse given by former president of the republic Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, who has been a main protagonist of a general valorization of Italian national symbols, the holiday gained more widespread celebrations.
On November 4 and the days shortly before, highest charges of the Republic pay homage to the Unknown Soldier (Milite Ignoto), buried in the Altare della Patria in Rome, visit the Redipuglia War Memorial, where there are the bodies of 100,000 Italian soldiers died in the First World War, as well as Vittorio Veneto, where there occurred the last and decisive battle between the Royal Italian Army and the Austro-Hungarian Army.
The Italian President and Minister of Defence send to the Italian Armed Forces a greeting and gratitude message in the name of the whole country. November 4 is celebrated also in other institutional office like Regions, Provinces and Comuni.
During the national holiday, there is the change of guards, at the Quirinal Palace, with Corazzieri and the fanfare of 4th Carabinieri Cavalry Regiment in high uniform. This rite occurs only in other two occasions, during celebrations of Tricolour Day (January 7) and Republic Day (June 2).
The Italian Army Forces usually open the barracks to the public and allow visits to the naval military units. Arms showings and exhibitions about WWI are often held inside barracks. There are often sport demonstrations and exercise carried by soldiers.
In squares of the main Italian cities, concerts are held by military bands, as well as other celebrations in front of the Monument to the fallen situated in each Comune.
During the Sessantotto, Armed forces Day became object of protest and dissent by different political groups.
Especially in the second half of the 1960s and the first of the 1970s, on November 4, the radical movement, far-left groups and "dissident catholics" began protests to ask the recognition of the conscientious objection right and attack the overall military institution.
Sometimes protest were carried on by the distribution of leaflets and posting of posters against armed forces. Protesters were often pursued for offences to the Army honour and prestige and for instigation of soldiers to insubordination.
- Liberation Day
- Armistice of Villa Giusti
- Bollettino della Vittoria
- Bollettino della Vittoria Navale
- Tricolour Day
- Festa della Repubblica Italiana
- Italian Armed Forces
- Italian Front (WWI)
- World War I
- National Symbols of Italy
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- MILITE IGNOTO entry ‹See Tfd›(in Italian) in the Enciclopedia italiana
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- Legge 5 marzo 1977, n. 54