The Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral General Teodoro Esteban López Calderón, presided over the solemn flag-raising ceremony held today in the Jardines del Descubrimiento gardens in the Plaza de Colón, in Madrid. The raising of the flag on the occasion of the feast of the patron saint of Madrid, San Isidro. The JEMAD was accompanied, among other civilian and military authorities, by the Mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida Navasqüés.
With this ceremony, the Armed Forces wish to pay tribute and express their appreciation to the city of Madrid.
On this occasion, the hoisting of the flag was carried out by the Air Force.
The Joint Honours Company was made up of four Platoons, with Command, the Gastador Squadron and the Band and Music Unit of the General Air Command of the Air Force.
The military units involved in the ceremony belong to the Regiment 'Inmemorial del Rey' nº 1 of the Spanish Army, the Headquarters of the Spanish Navy, the Honours Squadron of the Air Force Security Group and the Reserve and Security Group nº 1 of the Guardia Civil.
The sequence was as follows:
The hoisting of the flag ceremony at Columbus Square is held on a regular monthly basis. It is also held four times a year on an extraordinary occasion, known as a 'solemn hoisting'. The first of these four solemn hoisting ceremonies is on May 15th, on the occasion of the festivity of San Isidro. The second is on June 19th, the anniversary of the proclamation of HM the King, and is presided over by the President of the General Council of the Judiciary. The third is on July 12th, the anniversary of the date on which the Constitutional Court came into operation, and is presided over by the President of the Constitutional Court. The last of the year is held on December 6th, the day of the Spanish Constitution, and is co-chaired by the presidents of the Congress and the Senate.
The flag is 300 square metres (21 x 14) and weighs 35 kilos. It was raised for the first time in 2001, when the previous 21-metre mast was replaced by the current 50-metre mast. This mast has a rotating head to turn in the same direction as the wind, thus preventing the flag from wrapping around the mast, which weighs almost 20 tonnes and is anchored on a footing resting on four pillars in the Colón underground car park.