Honorary citizenship awarded to the “Abruzzan Band”


By Antonio Manzi.

On Sunday 2nd December 1990, on the 46th anniversary of their liberation, the Town Council of Brisighella (Ravenna) held an extraordinary meeting at which they awarded honorary citizenship to the glorious “ Brigata Maiella”. The ceremony was held in the Town Theatre packed with ex-Patriots and many citizens. After the religious ceremony, a laurel wreath was laid by the stone commemorating the Liberation of the town by the valorous Abruzzan Partisans. In his impassioned speech, the Mayor underlined how many times the people of Brisighella had recognised and were grateful to the heroic fighters of the “Maiella”. After the Mayor’s, speeches were given by Gilberto Malvestuto, President of the Institute of Abruzzan History for History of Fascism and the Resistance, Giuseppe Bartoli a local Partisan from Brisighella, and Domenico Troilo, President of the Association of Patriots of the Maiella and Vice-Commandant of the Brigade.

After the ceremony all participants went to the residential zone to pay homage to Ettore Troilo, the prestigious Commandant of the Brigade; the Town Administration have demonstrated the great affection linking him to the populace, by naming a road there after him.

Finding themselves at Brisighella again after 46 years, to celebrate a manifestation of love, solidarity and recognition, with the investiture by the Town Council of the highest civil acknowledgement, gave great satisfaction and joy to the veterans of the glorious “ Brigata Maiella”, whilst they also recalled the unforgettable moments of exciting battles and sacrifices of those days. To the fighters of the “Maiella”, Brisighella represented a major part of their long battle-filled journey, and therefore there are strong bonds of brotherhood and friendship that bind them to that loyal and valorous town. They had chosen it precisely because it had witnessed their actions and for a long time has guarded with love their many companions who had fallen in that zone; it was also the place where the “ Brigata Maiella” had disbanded in orderly fashion, prior to their humble return to normal activities as working citizens, aware of the huge tasks that awaited them of reconstructing the desolate, destroyed zones of their Abruzzo and of rebuilding their families, violently scattered by the ferocity of Nazis and Fascists. For those veterans to return to that town, where civil and social growth has reached important goals, was also a motive of great pride, because by their sacrifice and their blood they had smoothed the path and shown the way towards a new life of Freedom and Justice. That heartfelt and nostalgic greeting from Brisighella which had burst forth 46 years earlier, directed at those valorous mountain-dwelling Abruzzan men, with the affectionate expression “Farewell Brigata Maiella, farewell!” “Addio Brigata Maiella, addio!” resounded again in the ears of those veterans on the 2nd of December, reminding them how firm was the link, both sentimental and ideal, uniting them with the citizens of Brisighella and how it is possible to establish solid, long-lasting relationships through the common experiences of battle and of sacrifice.

Celebrating events from so far back in time should not simply be a matter of homage and recognition of valour and sacrifice, but rather should provoke in everyone a realization, that is translated into an undertaking, always to fight for the right, for Freedom, impeding any licentious degeneration of it, by means of progressive moral growth, by respecting the dignity of everyone, and by asserting substantial social justice for all. Those years taught us how great is the force of solidarity, and of equality. Presumption, pride and proclaimed superiority were the cultural inheritance of others. The Partisans, and the folks from the populace who helped them, matured into a different culture, consisting of brotherhood, love, sacrifice and tolerance and it was these that made them stronger than their adversaries. This is the spirit in which we should recall that date; a message of hope, of trust, of solidarity and love, especially towards young people, who represent the reality of tomorrow and who demand the certainty of a better future; that for which the veterans fought, suffering and sacrificing themselves, the Patriots of the Maiella, even far away from their beloved Abruzzo, which was the most despoiled, sacked, robbed and destroyed of all the Regions of Italy. Abruzzo was where massacres were carried out with the most brutal and cruel techniques. As time goes by we must not allow certain forces to work at making us forget, conceal or falsify the past. Instead we must wish that we shall transmit to the younger generations the values of all those in the Resistance and especially those in the glorious Abruzzan formation who knew how to fight with daring and valour for the redemption of human dignity. This lesson should not simply pass into the records of history, but should serve even today to give courage, strength and optimism to the young, so that in civil life they can fight and win the battle for peace, in Democracy and Freedom. It is necessary, after so many years, to return again and make sense of the hopes of the past. In order to be able to do that, it is indispensable that we reconstitute within ourselves again, and especially within the new generations that will go forwards, the essential “spring” (motivating force) of action from those days; a renewed, certain, permanent ideal tension.

© Amici di Torricella             Year 2    No 3    December 1990     page 6

Translation courtesy of Dr. Marion Apley Porreca

Mrs. Letizia Piccone, wife of the Maiella Brigade's Commandant, Ettore Troilo, was awarded honorary citizenship by the Mayor in the Council Hall at Sulmona on 25th April last. Congratulations from the Editorial staff of "Amici di Torricella".

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