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Romania Celebrated Its National Day on December 1st
As people started to flood the parade area, they were welcomed by the smell of the traditional food which was cooked in restaurants and military tents in the nearby Herastrau Park. A few elderly getting first on the spot tried to get people stay in line and put their names on lists, to make sure they would get their share of free food. It was to no avail.
Most wanted to get first by way of sheer force, hoping to also shake hands with Basescu and have a picture taken with him. The military parade enchanted everybody, but most of all the children who carried balloons, had their faces painted and ate popcorn, with parents delivering them a brief lesson of history, fast-food style. Over 1,200 military personnel and 100 military vehicles passed by, with choppers and planes prompting the crowd to cheer.
The pinnacle of the festivities was the expected meeting between Basescu and the cheering citizens.
"My neighbor will not believe me when I will tell him that I shook hands with the president," said one content man.
Many were disappointed the parade took to little time, but soon they walked away, towards the alleys of the Herastrau Park, where free food was up for grabs. Many politicians did not resist the urge to make the national festivities their own, or at least to not let their presence go unnoticed.
Behind Basescu, in a position right to make it in the same photo frame, walked senator Marius Marinescu, called Toilet, safter he left his party ranks together with the toilet sinks he had fixed with the party headquarters, trans. notet
Next to him walked businessman Dorin Cocos, sthe husband of former presidential adviser Elena Udrea, deemed to still be the presidentâs informal spokesperson.t Gheorghe Becali, flamboyant soccer club owner and populist politician, climbed up on the scaffolding holding the cameras of OTV television station as he climbed up his own Maybach at the times he addressed the crowds.
A kid shouted at Becali: "Would you give me 500 euros?" hinting at the money Becali spread around when people in dire straits were shown on television screens. Basescu challenged again the personnel in charge with his security, because he moved in a hectic way, left and right, to shake hands as a cinema star.
The crowd did not give the same treatment to Emil Constantinescu, former Romania president, or to Adrian Nastase, former PM and Social Democrat Party leader.
They passed by unnoticed, and in the case of Nastase, even unrecognized, with one young woman asking her mother "who is that guy?" The Romanian embassy in Helsinki, Finland, organized a reception on the occasion of the national day, as did the embassy in Paris, France.
In Spain, Romanians started their festivities on November 30, at the Beneficiencia, in Valencia. A fund raising for children with leukemia took place at the Hellenic College in Brookline, Massachusetts. The Romanians in the Serb Republic did not have December 1st officially recognized as yet. Marcel Dragan, secretary of the National Council of Romanians in Serbia was confident that authorities in Belgrade would eventually approve for ethnic Romanians to get a free day on Romaniaâs national day.