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WASHINGTON, Nov. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The fifth annual tribute concert in honor of U.S. military personnel wounded in the line of duty was held on November 2nd and hosted by Finmeccanica and the Embassy of Italy in Washington, DC. The concert, entitled A Grand Night at the Opera, featured Maestro Alexis Soriano and The New York Opera Society Chamber Orchestra, who performed a collection of famous opera pieces from Lucia di Lamermoor, Madama Butterfly, Lucrezia Borgia, The Daughter of the Regiment, Cosi fan tutte, The Barber of Seville, and Don Pasquale.
The event was held at the Embassy of Italy in Washington, D.C. with approximately 100 wounded servicemen and women, family members, staff, and caregivers from Walter Reed National Medical Center and Fort Belvoir attending.
Nearly 500 people, including officials from the U.S. Departments of Defense, State, Veterans Affairs, and the Central Intelligence Agency as well as diplomats and members of the Washington community, gathered to honor them.
This year's event was part of 2013 – Year of Italian Culture in the US, an initiative featuring more than 300 events in over 50 U.S. cities.
"Our Embassy is particularly proud to participate to this traditional tribute to American wounded warriors," the Ambassador of Italy to the United States, Claudio Bisogniero said. "Italian soldiers are committed to work shoulder to shoulder with their American and international colleagues to support peace and security. It is only right that we honor those who have taken this responsibility. They have our deepest gratitude and our appreciation, as well as our continuing admiration," Bisogniero stated.
William J. Lynn, Chief Executive Officer of Finmeccanica North America and DRS Technologies also recognized the warriors for their service: "Our wounded warriors inspire us by their courage and resilience. The opportunity to serve in the Pentagon and work alongside our troops was one of the most profound experiences I have had," he said. "We owe them a debt of gratitude, which we can never fully repay, yet we can make small installments at occasions such as this in their honor," Lynn said.
Dawn Halfaker, a wounded warrior herself, recanted her story of triumph over adversity after losing an arm in an attack on her convoy in Iraq and the help she received from organizations that focus on our injured troops. Those organizations have helped thousands of other troops heal and find a new direction in life. "I look forward to everything my life journey will bring, the challenges and triumphs, and wish that all of our warriors whose lives have changed and have since embarked on their own journeys, will also go on to realize their own destiny," Halfaker said. "It is our job, everybody in this room's job to help them get there every step of the way," she said.
Following the performance, Finmeccanica presented charitable donations to three organizations that supported, not only Halfaker, but thousands of other wounded service members: The Aleethia Foundation, Fisher House Foundation, and Wounded Warrior Project®.
On hand to accept the check for The Aleethia Foundation was Founder and President, Hal Koster; For Fisher House, Vice President Cindy Campbell; For Wounded Warrior Project™, Charles Battaglia, Member of the Board of Directors.
About the Aleethia Foundation:
The Aleethia Foundation supports injured warriors through short-term, therapeutic recreation during the early stages of healing and provides assistive technology items for traumatic brain injury patients. The benefits of social interaction and change of environment have proven extremely beneficial for the wounded warriors and their families. The Aleethia Foundation provides activities away from the hospital setting and hosts Friday Night Dinners for the service members, families, and caregivers in the beltway region. For more information, please visit www.aleethia.org.
About Fisher House Foundation:
Fisher House Foundation donates "comfort homes," built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers to enable family members to be close to a loved one during hospitalization for an unexpected illness, disease, or injury. This year, the 61 Fisher Houses currently in operation will support over 19,000 families, saving them over $28 million in lodging and travel expenses. In addition to constructing new houses, Fisher House Foundation helps individual military families through the Hero Miles, Hotels for Heroes and Scholarships for Military Children programs.
About the Wounded Warrior Project®
The mission of Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. The WWP purpose is to raise awareness and to enlist the public's aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. To get involved and learn more, please visit woundedwarriorproject.org.
For more information about 2013 – Year of Italian Culture in the United States:
- the website http://www.italyinus2013.org,
- the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ItalyInUs2013,
- the Twitter hashtag #2013ItalianYear
- the social media platform of the Embassy of Italy in Washington, www.twiplomacy.it/USA.
Press contact: Angelica Falchi
Ph. 202 292 2626
Fax 202 223 6584
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