On Sunday, January 6, 2013, Their Majesties King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia of Spain along with Their Royal Highnesses Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia of Asturias celebrated Pascua Militar 2013 at Palacio Real in Madrid.
The day began with a military parade, honors, and a twenty-one gun salute at Plaza de la Armería at the palace. After the national anthem was played the royal family along the Spanish Defense Minister, Mr. Pedro Morenés, the Interior Minister, Mr. Jorge Fernandez Días, the Head of State Staff of Defense, Spanish Prime Minister, Mr. Mariano Rajoy, and dozens of other military personnel proceeded inside the royal palace.
Once inside the Throne Room His Majesty gave a speech stressing:
“… that the National Defense Policy ‘recognizes that the current economic crisis acts as a security threat,’ and therefore ‘it is essential to prioritize the effort to maintain military capabilities to ensure credible deterrence in defense of the interests of Spain. And, hence the need, as loyal servants of the state, we should contribute more actively if possible, to the collective task of bringing up this great nation with effort, generosity and self-sacrifice.’ ”
After the speech, Their Majesties King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia along with the Prince and Princess of Asturias proceeded to the Sálon de Columnas where they mingled with various guests attending today’s Pascua Militar.
Please click here to watch a video (in Spanish).
His Majesty’s speech in full:
“This traditional celebration of Easter Military allows me meeting you all in the company of the Queen and the Prince of Asturias, something that, as you know, I am very pleased because I can express my closeness and the pride I feel in commanding you.
This past Christmas I asked you to share an emotional homage to our comrades who died in the line of duty during 2012, to which we dedicate our sincere appreciation. For their families, along with our solidarity with their pain, all our affection.
I also want to highlight the work of members of the Armed Forces and Guardia Civil who do their duty away from Spain, always difficult conditions. They give good test of professionalism and efficiency, humanity and rigor, courage and discipline.
With their daily uplift our nation, ensure mutual loyalty between partners and ensure the firmness of the values we share together. I express my gratitude and ask them to persevere in their attitude. Best wishes to all.
My thanks also to the Minister of Defense for his friendly greeting and a statement of the situation and the challenges of the Armed Forces.
I see that you are fully aware of the difficulties and total willingness to address them, as stated in the National Defense Directive I was presented at the National Defense Council held last July 31, which was also attended by the Prince of Asturias.
A few days later I met with the Minister and the new military leadership in the General Staff of Defense, to be informed in detail of the planning process that will help achieve the objectives and develop the guidelines established by this Directive.
It recognizes that the current economic crisis acts as a security threat.
Therefore, it is essential to prioritize the effort to maintain military capabilities to ensure credible deterrence in defense of the interests of Spain.
And, hence the need, as loyal servants of the state, we should contribute more actively if possible, to the collective task of bringing up this great nation with effort, generosity and self-sacrifice.
The Spanish people have full confidence in your ability, initiative and enthusiasm to achieve that goal, knowing that your values and your training will allow you to overcome in the most difficult situations.
That bond between our partnership with the Armed Forces was further strengthened during the past summer, when fires ravaged our territory.
Our soldiers were required then and acted tirelessly. They knew – as always – to fulfill their duties faithfully.
Also in 2012 I have the image of the memorable ceremony in which, as Sovereign of the Royal and Military Order of San Fernando, I was honored to impose collective Laureate Cavalry Alcantara.
The sobriety of the military ceremony and the telling of the events touched us all.
We are excited about the pride of knowing that those were our heroes and their spirit is too. His heroic example forces us to take intimate commitment to become worthy heirs of them, to have them present in every action of our responsibility modest everyday.
The virtues of those riders remain today in the depths of all of you, for you have internalized in the academies and training centers, and you practice every day in the practice of the profession, with intelligence, tenacity and selfless, always thinking Spain.
Finally, with my family, I wish you all and your families peace and joy this year that has just begun, with confidence to the future.
Long live Spain!”
Photo courtesy of Casa Real