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King Felipe and Queen Letizia preside over Pascua Militar

Yesterday at the Royal Palace of Madrid, King Felipe and Queen Letizia presided over the ceremony representing the beginning of the military year called Pascua Militar. The day began at the Plaza de la Armería of the Royal Palace of Madrid where the National Anthem and 21 gun salute took place.

Afterwards, Their Majesties and the military leaders went to the Hall of Thrones where the King told the assembled armed forces that all of Spain is “proud of you and appreciate the work that our men and women are doing in the service of all – at the service of our peace and security.”

His Majesty added, “Noble, generous – and sometimes heroic – should always be valued and remembered with honour, gratitude and emotion.”

He also spoke for his wishes for the military in 2017 mentioning that military families must get praised and thanked, as well, for their sacrifices.

He said, “[I wish] this year brings us that peace that you watch in silence, with a special memory and greeting for so many companions who are deployed far from their homes and with the longing for the Fatherland. This is extended to your families who, without sparing their efforts and with their sacrifices and encouragement, make possible your professional successes. ”

Their Majesties during the National Anthem and 21 gun salute at the Plaza de la Armería of the Royal Palace of Madrid. Photo: Ministry of Defence (from Casa Real) via Flickr

His Majesty took the time to speak about modernisation in the military, too, which has enabled them to assist in “greatest threat to global security today, terrorism.” Spain has made much progress, but there is much more to be done, according to Felipe. He spoke about Spain’s role in NATO and how it was at the head of Joint Force Very High Availability and Command of the component of the Allied Response Force in 2016. The military will also, for the first four months of 2017, lead the Baltic Air Police mission.

Regarding terrorism and attacks that have taken place across Europe over the past year, King Felipe said:

We must spare no effort to increase our capacity for prevention and response to this scourge that endangers our society, despises our democratic values and is an enemy of humanity. We have an obligation to do everything in our power in defending the individual rights and guarantees of our fellow citizens, as well as contributing to the international effort to fight against this common global threat.

He also said that Spaniards share in the pain faced by neighbouring countries who have suffered terror attacks by radical extremists.

King Felipe handed out some of the decorations to members of the Spanish military on 6 January. Photo: Ministry of Defence (from Casa Real) via Flickr

The King also handed out military decorations to different members of the military including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Civil Guard, and the Royal Brotherhood of Veterans.

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