Madrid, Jul 16 (efe-epa).- The Spanish monarch on Thursday led a state ceremony outside the royal palace in Madrid to pay tribute to the 28,400 people who lost their lives to Covid-19 in the country.
King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia were joined by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, the leaders of the country’s political parties, and the heads of the three main European Union institutions: Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, Council leader Charles Michel and Parliament president David Sassoli.
During his address, the king said that the families of the victims of coronavirus were not alone in their pain.
“It is a pain that we share. Their hurt is ours and all Spaniards are present here today,” he said.
He also took time to pay tribute to the “exemplary” behavior of the Spanish population during the pandemic, in which time the country was plunged into a state of alarm and a nationwide lockdown that lasted over three months.
He added: “During those months, our society gave a lesson in great courage. Spain showed its best spirit. In the years to come when we recall this era, these days, we will also remember that once again in our history we set an example in civility, maturity, resistance and commitment to those around us.”
Felipe’s speech brought a close to proceedings, in which the royal family and the officials in attendance laid white roses on a memorial for the victims of Covid-19.
The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus; the World Tourism Organization, Zurab Pololikashvili, and Nato, Jens Stoltenberg, were also present.
Speaking at the event was Aroa López, a nurse from Barcelona who described her experience working “at the limit” on the front-line of the campaign against Covid-19, saying that she and her colleagues were not heroes.
“Those of us behind the personal protective gear were people,” she said.