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"Love Forever, Forever Opera"

Finmeccanica Hosts Fourth Annual Tribute Concert in Honor of Wounded Warriors at Embassy of Italy

On Saturday, November 17, Finmeccanica and the Embassy of Italy hosted the fourth wounded warrior concert in Washington, DC titled, “Love Forever, Forever Opera.”

Over 450 people, including officials from the U.S. Departments of Defense, State, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs, as well as Members of Congress, diplomats, and other members of the Washington community assembled to honor wounded veterans, their families, and their caregivers in attendance. Wounded servicemen and women, family members, staff, and caregivers from Walter Reed National Medical Center, Fort Meade, and Fort Belvoir attended the event.

The concert featured The New York Opera Society Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Alexis Soriano that performed a collection of famous opera pieces from Carmen, Tosca, The Barber of Seville, and Rigoletto. Some of the hits of the night included Mezzo-Soprano Elizabeth Batton’s rendition of “Habanera,” Baritone Shannon DeVine’s singing of “Largo Al Factotum,” Tenor Garrett Sorenson’s rendition of “Questa O Quella,” and “Sempre Libera,” which was sung by Soprano Laura Rey. The four singers ended together on-stage with Giuseppe Verdi’s quartet, “Un di, se ben Rammentomi…Bella Figlia Dell’Amore.”

VIPs in attendance included Ambassador of Italy to the United States Claudio Bisogniero; Mr. James Clapper, Director of the National Intelligence Agency; General James A. Winnefeld, Vice Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff; Rear Admiral John Currier, Vice Commandant of the United States Coast Guard; Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho, Surgeon General of the United States Army; Ambassador Joyce A. Barr, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Administration, Under Secretary for Management, United States Department of State; and Michael Vickers, Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence.

Ambassador Bisogniero delivered a brief welcome address to the audience, and talked of the collaboration between the United States and Italy.

“The wounded warriors,” said the Ambassador, “embody the ultimate symbol of devotion to their homeland and to the values to which we are all committed. The Italian military is proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with its American colleagues to defend peace, security and our fundamental values and rights, in different – and often difficult – parts of the world.”

Simone Bemporad, Chief Executive Officer of Finmeccanica North America, expressed his appreciation for servicemen and servicewomen: “As a longtime partner of the U.S. Armed Forces, the men and women of Finmeccanica have learned much about our men and women in uniform…. Working with you every day has taught us that there is nothing to be prouder of than serving those who serve the Nation.”

William J. Lynn, Chief Executive Officer of DRS Technologies, who also spoke, recognized the warriors for their service: “Our wounded warriors inspire us by their courage and resilience. 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.”

Additionally, Anthony Odierno, Secretary of the Board of Directors of Wounded Warriors Project spoke about his personal experience of transitioning to life after being wounded.

Following the performance, Finmeccanica presented charitable donations to three organizations that support injured service members. Hal Koster, Founder and Executive Director accepted Finmeccanica’s check on behalf of the Aleethia Foundation.

Since 2004, Finmeccanica has been a devoted supporter of the Aleethia Foundation and we are truly grateful for their continuous support of Aleethia’s programs in supporting the injured service members, their families and caregivers.