What Elena García, ten years old, liked the most was the music and how the soldiers moved their feet, “all at the same time.” She and her classmate Pepe Rodríguez were the fifth-year students of the Gesta de Oviedo school in charge of raising the Spanish flag in an act with which the Defense Delegation advanced the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Day.
The hoisting went without more problems than a small knot in the rope. Before and after, a throng of Gesta students enjoyed a show in the courtyard in which almost nothing was missing. There was music, a lot of it, and also animals. The “Príncipe” regiment, in order to offer some extra entertainment to the children, brought “Cova”, a four-month-old eagle that the infant and primary school students looked at closely with respect and admiration.
The presence of the “War Band” of the Prince Regiment also left a stir and surprise. Soldiers with trumpet, cornet, bagpipes and percussion. In front of them, the “Ciudad de Oviedo” bagpipe band completed the program. The latter were in charge of interpreting the national anthem while the flag, with a pole moved for the occasion by the Oviedo City Council, was raised. Under his breath, some child could not resist humming the anthem with one of those lyrics that always liven up recess hours in the playground.
The combination of soldiers and schoolchildren, explained Colonel Juan Luis González, Deputy Delegate for Defense in Asturias, is part of the campaigns to publicize their work that they offer to educational centers during the course and can be an effective hotbed of vocations. That was, in fact, his case, he admitted, when at the age of ten the Armed Forces passed by his school in Zamora. “I think that’s where my vocation came from,” he said yesterday.
Second Lieutenant Antonio Trobajo acted as presenter to explain that Columbus Day is celebrated on the arrival of Columbus in America. “A national holiday that helps to strengthen ties,” he told the children, “and that commemorates the beginning of a great period of linguistic and cultural projection towards the new continent.” He also explained that Spanish is the second most widely spoken mother tongue in the world and offered some insights into the history of the rojigualda: That Carlos III ordered that the cross of Saint Andrew be stopped, on a white background, due to the confusion that existed in the naval battles
They accompanied the act, together with the Colonel of the Civil Guard, and senior police officers, the director of the center, Elisa Fernández, the director of centers in the Principality, Elena Arango, and the councilors of Oviedo for Education, Lourdes García, and for Sports, Conchita Méndez. On the other hand, the Suatea union yesterday questioned “the convenience of a military celebration” of this type and pointed to the “connotations of a neo-colonial nature” that “the act can dismiss.”
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Flags, music bands and an eagle to celebrate Hispanic heritage at the Gesta school