Venice: no frame would have been better to celebrate the 100 years of conferring the name Saint Mark and the concession of the emblem of the winged lion to the Marine Infantry. They the fusiliers, led by vessel captain Luca Anconelli, commander of the 1 San Marco regiment, arrived in Piazza San Marco marching and intoning their hymn. To welcome members deployed, military, institutional, religious and civil authorities, but also ordinary citizens present on this Saturday of spring in Venice.
"We swear it on the white heads of our mothers. We swear it for the starry eyes of our love. The honor that Italy wanted to entrust to us - custodirem - sacro tesor. St. Mark wants it, we will free our land". A few verses are enough, tuned with ardor and passion, to go back over a century. During the First World War, immediately after the Caporetto retreat, the Royal Navy established four battalions of fusiliers to defend the extreme south wing of the front. del Piave, to prevent the Austro-Hungarian forces from taking the city of Venice and spreading over the Po valley. The battalions took the name of the localities on which they were certified: Grado, Caorle, Monfalcone and Golametto. Venice, grateful to the fusiliers of Marina for the heroic defense conducted with honor and sacrifice, gave them the 17 March 1919 the name of their patron saint and their symbol.
A symbol in which all the fusiliers recognize themselves, as stated by Rear Admiral Cesare Bruno Petragnani, commander of the Marina San Marco Brigade: "From March of the 1919 the sailors of the Marine Infantry, up to the riflemen of Marina of my Brigade of today, are recognized in the values that the winged lion represents and already from the ceremony of delivery of the Basque they promise firmly to themselves to guard with honor the sacred treasure of our tradition, made of courage, loyalty, generosity, perseverance, spirit of sacrifice, loyalty and devotion to the institution ".
Pax tibi, Marce, meus evangelist. Thus says the motto of the winged lion with which from the 1260 approximately begins to be represented San Marco. The lion symbolizes the strength of the word of the Saint; wings spiritual elevation; the halo, religious holiness. "It is a symbol that expresses the heraldic meaning of majesty and power. The book is a symbol of wisdom and peace, the sword of justice"- added Petragnani -"I address my thoughts to all the brother lions who, under the banner of San Marco, have fallen or been injured and to all the men and women who are currently operating in the world and in Italy, with honor and courage".
To the marines of Marina who sacrificed their duty in fulfilling their duty greatest asset, also the thought of the Navy Chief of Staff, Admiral Valter Girardelli: "To the lions of San Marco we all bow, squeezing under the war flag of the 1 ° Regiment. The Marina San Marco Brigade, even with the necessary modernization to modern standards, continues as 100 years ago to represent an irreplaceable and effective military instrument capable of performing all those military tasks and supporting national resilience with unchanged spirit of sacrifice and self-sacrifice. This is made possible by the competence, the ability, the spirit of service of the men and women of San Marco, by our foot soldiers. I believe I can say with certainty that the Navy San Marco Brigade and the airborne instrument will continue on the traced route and, soon, they will find, the 25 May, further support with the entry into service and the launch of Nave Trieste".
Girardelli then greeted the two fusiliers of Marina La Torre and Girone, hoping for them and their families that the affair involving them could be concluded favorably and as soon as possible. Also the Minister of Defense, Elisabetta Trenta, added the same thought and closeness: "That of the San Marco Brigade is a story to be discovered, but above all to be divulged not only for its peculiarities of military use, but also for the great value and genuine commitment of its men and women who still carry on their uniform the lion of Venice. In these hundred years, the fusiliers of Marina have built their credibility by adapting their specificity of landing force to the changing scenarios in which they have been called to intervene, both in international missions and in those serving citizens. Today they are a unique and precious resource on which the Defense, we all, can always count. Sailors strong both in physical and in mind, hardened by a hard and constant training, able to face the most unpredictable situations in operating environments where water and land touch and melt. Attitude well expressed by the motto 'Per mare, per terram'. I am sure that the fusiliers of Marina will continue to do their duty to the country, with a history and an example that no one has ever failed in".
The Marina San Marco Brigade, with its multidimensional multidisciplinary capacitive complex, is today set in the broader organizational and operational context of the Naval Team. The riflemen of San Marco, divided into three operational Regiments and a Means of Landing, with the support of the Schools Battalion Caorle and of the Brigade Headquarters, guarantee the fulfillment of numerous tasks in the service of the country. Among the functions performed are those of force projection from the sea, of support to ships in maritime interdiction and anti-piracy operations, and defense of sensitive national installations.