Representatives of the armed forces and security forces with the Spanish flag. | Miquel À. Cañellas


October 12 is Spain's National Day and is also the day for Spain's armed forces. At the Almudaina Palace in Palma, the colonel in chief of the Balearic General Command, Juan Torres Vázquez, highlighted the work of the army as well as the rest of the state security forces in managing the pandemic.

Saying that it was a day to celebrate union and brotherhood, he made particular reference to events in La Palma and to all those affected by the volcano.

Politicians were in attendance, but they didn't include President Armengol, who was in Madrid for the main National Day celebrations. Otherwise, the general commander in the Balearics, Fernando García Blázquez, was accompanied by the president (speaker) of the Balearic parliament, Vicenç Thomàs. The national government delegate, Aina Calvo, the mayor of Palma, José Hila, and the president of the Council of Mallorca, Catalina Cladera, were among others.

All the armed forces took part, as did representatives from the Guardia Civil, National Police and local police forces. The Spanish flag was raised and a tribute was made to the fallen. The general commander and the speaker placed a laurel wreath on the monument to honour members of the armed forces who have given their lives for Spain.

Aina Calvo said that the celebration was "a good sign" of the return to normality and that it "recognises the diversity of the country of which we are part". Fernando García Blázquez explained that all the military had "in one way or another" participated in the challenges posed by the pandemic. In this regard, he mentioned that during the first state of alarm the military had been involved in surveillance patrols, had provided protection to sensitive supply points, and had supported the Food Bank.

He added that the army had joined the ministry of health's contact-tracing team. One hundred and fifty soldiers had been engaged in this. "The need for them is now decreasing, but they are willing in case they are needed again. Hopefully, they will not be."