Air Task Force – Romania marches in Romanian National Day Parade
By: Captain Mathew Strong, Air Task Force – Romania Public Affairs.
Members of the Operation REASSURANCE Air Task Force (ATF) in Romania participated in a parade to commemorate the Romanian National Day in Bucharest on December 1, 2017.
“Since the start of our mission, when we first arrived here in Romania, we pledged to interact with and support our Romanian hosts as much as possible,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Mark Hickey, Commander of ATF – Romania.
“When the opportunity to participate in the National Day came along, we were honoured and gratefully accepted the opportunity to take part. Our Romanian Allies have been amazing hosts, and what better way to show our solidarity with the people of this great country than to celebrate in their National Day with them,” he added.
This was the first time that members of the Canadian Armed Forces have marched in the parade. It marked the 99th anniversary of Union Day, or the moment in history when Romania was united with what was then known as Transylvania and several other smaller regions. The Romanian National Day has been celebrated annually since 1990.
In total, thirty members of the ATF marched in the Parade, while two CF-188 Hornets flew over in sequence with our Romanian allies. The ATF’s Host Nation Liaison Officer, Major Christian Roscius, was one of the participants; a native Romanian from Bucharest, he immigrated to Canada in his teen years, but has continued to stay connected with his Romanian Heritage.
“Romanian National Day is a big deal for the people of Romania; after centuries attempting unification, it happened on this day, and it is their version of Canada Day,” said Maj Roscius. “When I first found out I would lead the Canadian contingent in the parade, I was a little nervous, but also extremely proud. This has been a great honour.”
The parade featured more than 3500 troops, 350 ground vehicles, and 50 aircraft from dozens of organizations within the Romanian Armed Forces and other services. It also included the participation of over 300 personnel from several NATO allied and partner nations: Bulgaria, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal, the Republic of Moldova, Slovakia, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Following the parade, the Canadian contingent celebrated alongside the other parade participants during a hosted lunch. LCol Hickey also took part in a reception at the Romanian Presidential Palace.
“Overall, it was a great honour to participate in such a momentous occasion, and we are very thankful that we were invited to such an important Romanian tradition,” said LCol Hickey.
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