By Antonio Manzi
At dawn on the 21st of April 1945, units of the legendary Abruzzan
Partisan formation, the “Brigata Maiella” (Maiella Brigade), protagonists of
countless acts of valour and heroism during the War of Liberation in
Abruzzo, in the Marche and in Emilia, were amongst the first to enter
Bologna, liberating that city from Nazi-Fascist occupation.
That unforgettable day was remembered on its 46th anniversary with a solemn
ceremony that took place in the Emilian capital. During this ceremony, held
in the main hall of the Town Council at the D’Accursio Palace, in the
presence of all the Town’s Administrators, the highest authorities, and
numerous fighting associations, the Mayor, Renzo Imbeni, conferred the
highest honour of the city to the “Brigata Maiella”, giving the “Golden
Neptune” (Nettuno d’Oro) to the Vice-Commandant, Dr. Domenico Troilo,
together with a parchment thanking all the survivors present there.
Previously laurel wreathes were laid at the memorial chapel of the fallen in
Neptune Square (Piazza Nettuno).
As witness to the always sincere and alive presence of the Commandant Ettore
Troilo, his wife, Mrs. Letizia Piccone, his sons, Nicola, Carlo and Michele,
and his nephew Luca took part in the proceedings. Also present from Abruzzo
were the Vice President of the Province, Professor Mimmo Bernabeo, the
Prefect of Teramo, Dr. Di Bello and the Banner of the Region. 46 years after
that 21st of April when Bologna was liberated, the Mayor, Mr. Imbeni, said
amongst other things: “Time has passed, but our memories are intact” and he
recalled “acts of great significance, civil, human and military” carried out
by members of the “Brigata Maiella” .
Gilbert Malvestuto, President of the Historic Abruzzan Institute, intervened
with touching words of greeting. The Vice Commandant, Domenico Troilo,
thanked the Town Council of Bologna for the high recognition bestowed upon
the “Brigata Maiella” and to the survivors of that formation; he
recalled the more significant and heroic episodes of the operations that led
to the liberation of Bologna. The surviving Abruzzan Partisans thus relived
once again those unforgettable memories, going through places they had seen,
standard-bearers to a fight and a commitment carried out in the name of
Freedom and of Peace. Later they rebuilt the desolate, destroyed zones of
their Abruzzo, joining valour and heroism with humility and the profound
civic sense of citizens aware of taking up once more the civilian pathway of
daily work. This non-transitory ethic, constant and enriched during its
development, is the instruction that those valorous men gave and continue to
give to the younger generations, so that they can acquire, extol and ennoble
the values of Peace, Justice and Freedom.