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A Grand Night at the Opera

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 in 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 ill, injured and wounded service members: The Aleethia Foundation, Fisher House Foundation, and Wounded Warrior Project®.

Hal Koster, Founder and Executive Director accepts the donation 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.

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