176. Columbus Day – That Boy from Puccini Square…
The Italians of America chose me to represent Italy on the 59th Columbus Day – the celebrations which mark the occasion of the anniversary of the discovery of America by a famous Italian, Christopher Columbus.
I was very proud to be recognized in this way and to represent Italy at this event!
The president of “Italians in America,” explained how the day would unfold. I will be the Grand Marshal with the band across my chest and the conductor of the big parade to take place on Fifth Avenue.
The big day begins with a solemn Mass celebrated by the Bishop of New York in the Cathedral of Saint Peter on Fifth Avenue. Eva and my children are close to me and there is so much emotion in all of us. I feel really important, the large band with the inscription Grand Marshal makes me very proud!
The parade starts … my car, a vintage Ferrari convertible opens the parade… I’m standing and I want Robin, the youngest of my children, next to me. Along the way there is a great crowd of Italians who applaud from behind the barricades that mark the parade route. I reach to greet all and reciprocate their enthusiasm… they call my name… Roberto… Roberto… I really do not know which way to turn… Robin has fun and I enjoy living this feeling with him.Behind us, there are big floats from all regions of Italy… decorated with many flowers… with speakers to broadcast the music… many troupes of skilled flag-wavers from the Calcio Storico Fiorentino.
Once in front of the cathedral my car stops and the Cardinal walks down the steps, approaching us and giving us the blessing.
We resume the parade. On arrival there is a big musical band along with New York Mayor Bloomberg and Hillary Clinton who greet me with all the honors.
A great day… great emotions… wow… that kid from Puccini Square in Florence had become Grand Marshal in New York! Who could ever have imagined such a thing…
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