Our tenth anniversary
OUR TENTH ANNIVERSARY
(see Photo Gallery)
We have returned to our usual quiet, busy lives after the frenetic days commemorating the tenth anniversary of the Linate tragedy.
It was an important anniversary, and although God chose to call several people to Him in the past ten years, there are many other people who are still with us. These people continue to place their expertise at our service and have established a connection with others, working together so that the Foundation has become a respected and well-known organization.
We do not want to point out and accuse the “villains”. We want to persevere in explaining the reasons for connected events so that similar situations never happen again.
Mayor Giuliano Pisapia declared Milan “the European capital of air safety” during the extraordinary City Council meeting that the city of Milan dedicated to us on Thursday, October 6, 2011. That gesture made us extremely proud and encourages us to continue our work that we pursue with great interest and dedication.
This commemoration was certainly not only about the actual progress that has been made over the past decade. Without a doubt, there were many relevant moments during this anniversary.
On Saturday, October 8, at 8:10 a.m., nearly 300 people of various nationalities gathered in tragic, striking silence to commemorate the terrible moment when so many people perished at Linate Airport.
In that interminably long minute of silence, which was observed in all Italian airports, everything – even our hearts -- stopped in remembrance.
People must not resign themselves to evil nor must they be fearful bystanders. And, fortunately, life goes on. More than one thousand young people met in Piazza Carnelli in Milan for a non-competitive race in commemoration of our terrible accident. These young people will enrich the country with their skills in the future, and if we invest in their education, similar celebrations will no longer be necessary.
The mass in suffrage of our 118 victims was held in the Duomo at 10:00 a.m.
I could never have imagined such grandeur. The cathedral was filled with people, and there was a stately procession of flags from 14 countries representing the victims and 82 banners from towns and associations from all over Italy, with their colors and historic emblems.
In his homily, His Eminency Archbishop Cardinal Scola expressed words of appreciation for the families and our foundation.
We believe that no one should repay evil with evil, and we are doing our utmost to avoid the prevalent mentality of our century.
We were pleased to see the people who were of moral and material support to us during those days, such as former Mayor Albertini and Deputy Prefect Tronca who, with current Mayor Pisapia, SAS executives along with Evi Volpato, and the relatives of the victims, read the names from our long list of victims.
At the end of the ceremony, actor Cip Barcellini gave a heartfelt rendition of a letter from Saint Augustine that only confirmed that our loved ones are always with us!
Bosco dei Faggi was bathed in sunlight and full of flowers, flags, and people (more than 1,000 attended). There were many speeches, and it is our hope that the facts will not disprove those words. Then came our song, “A Saperlo Prima” [If We Only Knew Beforehand], which describes the reality of certain moments with all the doubts that still plague us today, ten years later.
The commemoration concluded on Sunday, October 9, 2011, with a concert at the La Scala Opera House. Once again, I want to thank the city of Milan that has commemorated our loved ones for the past 8 years. Nothing is more gratifying than realizing its ability to empathize with our past and with our hopes for the future.
Last but not least, I’d like to mention the grant that the city of Milan assigned to a young graduate student to study air safety with new instruments and systems. On Monday, October 10, 2011, Emanuele Sacchi, who has an Engineering degree, was the first person to receive this important study grant.
What more can I say? We are very grateful to the city of Milan and thank it for its HUGE HEART full of sensibility, comprehension, and generosity.
“This is not the land of truth, which wanders unknown amongst men. God shrouded her with a veil, and she is not recognized by those who cannot hear her voice.” (Blaise Pascal)
MANY THANKS TO ALL!
HERE THE SPEECHES
HOMILY OF HIS EMINENCY CARDINAL ANGELO SCOLA,
ARCHBISHOP OF MILAN
On the 10th anniversary of the air accident of Linate I would like to welcome the relatives of
the victims coming from Scandinavia who have wanted to join our prayer.
We cling to all of you with the embrace of love which comes from the Risen Christ.
On this painful anniversary celebrating the Holy Mass for the repose of the 118 victims and pleading the Lord and our beloved Madonnina for the grace of solace and assistance for all their relatives, the Church wishes to be withyou all.
We too, like the Apostles in the first days, do not have anything else to share with you but
the joyful hope which enlivens us: «in Christ shall all be made alive» (1Cor 15,22).
ADDRESS OF THE PRESIDENT PAOLO PETINAROLI AT THE CELEBRATION AT MILAN CATHEDRAL
I would like to thank His Eminency Cardinal Angelo Scola for his paternal benevolence in celebrating our tenth anniversary after his very recent nomination as Archbishop of Milan.
I also want to thank the religious, civilian and military authorities and all the participants in this Holy Mass.
October 8, 2001:
Ten years ago, the Linate tragedy unfortunately occurred because of inexcusable errors and unspeakable behavior.
At the end of that Monday, there were 118 innocent victims and a severely injured Pasquale Padovano who miraculously survived, thank God, but has endured great physical and psychological pain over the years.
The right to dignity and life was violated. The court of law later reconstructed and evaluated the circumstances, and it sentenced the people responsible for the crime.
This outcome is correct for society, but a question still remains for the parents, widows and widowers, and orphans: “Why didn’t the people responsible guarantee safety in that airport?”
Fondazione 8 Ottobre has kept its promise to persuade the responsible authorities to improve air safety and today it has become an important entity.
Our Technical Task Force always participates in conferences and meetings around the world that discuss this issue.
We are admired and respected and, believe me, that’s quite an achievement!
The Flight Safety Foundation of Washington D.C. invited us to join its Board of Governors and we accepted because we are deeply convinced that more information produces more control.
I know all this does not ease the pain, but we can endure it only if we look beyond towards a greater dimension.
This pain we still suffer has broadened our horizons and now we are more aware of the needs of our fellow men and women and the offenses they are forced to endure.
It naturally compels us to help others, and we trust in the courage and strength that God continues to grant us.
At the end of this Mass, we are all invited to visit the Bosco dei Faggi where, with the noise of jet engines of the planes arriving and departing from Linate Airport in the background, we can collect our thoughts and emotions, surrounded by the trees and sky.
Now, Roberto Majorana will read Saint Augustine’s “DEATH IS NOTHING”.
Death is nothing at all.
It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room.
Nothing has happened.
Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Call me by the old familiar name. Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was.
There is absolute and unbroken continuity. What is this death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner.
All is well. Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before. How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!"
So the face speaks. Surely while we speak there is a smile flitting over it; a smile as of gentle fun at the trick played us by seeming death...
Speech at Memorial Ceremony by
Mr. RICKARD GUSTAFSON President of SAS
Dear Relatives, Dear Mayor Pisapia, Excellencies, Dear Mr Pettinaroli, dear friends and colleagues, distinguished guests.
Today, ten years have passed since the worst aviation accident in Italian history, and in the history of our company, happened here at Linate.
Ten years since we had to experience what could not, and should not happen, actually happened.
It was the October morning when the lives of 118 people were lost, and the lives of so many families, relatives, colleagues and friends dramatically changed.
Each relative has a unique story to tell about their loved ones who perished in the accident. But what we have in common is the emptiness we all feel when someone close to us is no longer there.
I would like to express my sincere admiration and appreciation for the October 8th Committees. Your work and initiatives have served as a fantastic and valuable support for the families that were affected by the tragedy.
Aviation is by far, the safest means of transport. But in spite of this, accidents do happen. It remains essential that we learn from what happened and make sure it never can happen again.
The accident here at Linate has led to improvements in air safety, both here in Italy and abroad. I want to give specific credit to Mr. Pettinaroli for his initiatives in this respect. In the aviation family, needless to say, we will continue to make sure safety always remains our highest priority.
Ten difficult years have passed. We have all gathered at Bosco dei Faggi today. This memorial park is a very important place for both reflection and for remembrance.
The monument here, which is named “Borderless Sorrow”, serves as a symbol, to show that those who lost their lives here, will always be remembered.
Welcome speech at the Teatro alla Scala of Mayor Giuliano Pisapia
On 8 October 2001 our city was hit by one of the worst tragedies in its history.
118 people died at Linate Airport in one of Italy’s most serious plane accidents ever. A disaster that our consciences fail to accept. A fact that repels our identity as citizens of Milan, as Italians, men and women fully aware of the value of life.
Today, on the 10th anniversary, we want to remember those people. This evening’s concert is a chance to pay tribute to them, to gather around their family members and their loved ones so that they feel the affection and embrace of the entire city.
In its most difficult moments, Milan has always given great testimony of the solidarity and human feeling that has made this city great.
I remember how incredibly moved all the citizens of the city were at the news. I remember the dignity and calm of the victims’ families and the cohesion and solidarity of Milan’s inhabitants in the face of their pain.
The fact that so many years have passed since that terrible event in no way diminishes the suffering of these families. It cannot cancel out so much grief.
It is however comforting to know that much has been done and continues to be done to prevent similar tragedies in the future.
I want to thank for this the “8th October 2001 – So as not to forget” Committee and its President Paolo Pettinaroli, for the decisive contribution given in these years in honouring the victims of that accident and in keeping awareness raised about these issues.
Milan will continue to support you in this and will continue to cooperate with those who, like you, have made the safety of our airports and air transport their real raison d’être and personal mission.
This evening’s concert at the Teatro della Scala is a significant moment for meditation, sharing and reflection.
A moment for us all to feel more united. A chance to turn memory and the reminder of all that suffering into a message of hope and love of life.
Speech by President Paolo Pettinaroli at the Teatro alla Scala
I would like to thank Mayor Giuliano Pisapia, the Municipality of Milan, SEA, SAS, Teatro alla Scala and with them all the institutions and people who have given us their support over these ten years.
This is the seventh time I have had the honour and duty to speak to you from this prestigious stage. Unfortunately circumstances dictate no words of nostalgia: each time I try desperately yet unsuccessfully to find some sense in that terrible day that so damaged the existence of 118 families.
The objective our 8th October Foundation has been to urge an improvement in air safety. We are proud to be able to say that we have gained world renown.
The Flight Safety Foundation in Washington honoured us by accepting our cooperation and we now take part in international conventions and congresses with our qualified, experienced Task Force.
Last November the IASS (International Air Safety Seminar), which we organised in Milan, as always in collaboration with the DEMETRA Study Centre, saw participation by 610 delegates from 53 countries around the world. Our next appointments are in November in Singapore and Abu Dhabi.
Public places continue to be named in honour of 8th October.
In a few days time two new areas will be inaugurated in Casalgrande, Reggio Emilia and in Arluno.
I would also like to mention the over 200 families of the foreign victims. They are affectionately in our thoughts.
I cannot forget the associations of other air accidents, today honouring us with their presence, in particular our friends in the association for the Capogallo air disaster.
I certainly do not want to flaunt my particular story as there are 117 others the same, all with different details but sharing the same tragic desperation. Without forgetting the painful living hell of Pasquale Padovano, the only survivor.
That Monday 8 October, I was in Arezzo, very busy at work.
Someone in the office said something about an air accident at Linate, but I didn’t pay too much attention: it is true that Lorenzo, my son, was at Linate headed for Copenhagen, but as flying was something both he and I did frequently for work, there was no reason for me to think that this very means of transport was to become my own personal cross.
Lorenzo should have left Malpensa at 9.30, but following my advice to attend an earlier appointment he had changed his flight.
Things often evolve without us even really thinking about them, and so at first I was aware of a tiny suspicion, which grew to a doubt and then I started frenetically to ask those I knew who might be able to tell me what was happening and then… the darkness of desperation, faintness, refusal, a howl without sound inside my head as my world collapsed.
A dear friend and colleague took me to Linate. I don’t remember if I talked or prayed, what I do remember is that I was able neither to drive nor think rationally.
On my arrival in Linate, the impact was awful. This was hell on earth: shouts, cries, people who felt ill, the Red Cross and specialised personnel helping us and none of the airport staff wanting to admit the truth.
I knew that Lorenzo and his travel companions were no more, so without speaking, the only thing I could do was find Silvia and hug her – hard. She had lost her husband and we our son.
It is my faith and strength of spirit that allows me to stand here and speak of this.