By Joyce Costello, USAG Livorno Public AffairsJuly 21, 2008
LIVORNO, Italy - The San Marino-American Friendship Association celebrated its 30th anniversary this month, and in honor of the occasion, San Marino, one of the most ancient European republics, issued a stamp which depicts the respective countries' Statues of Liberty.
According to the designing artist Cristian Cerraroni, "the stamp represents in a simple, yet incisive and direct manner, the values which characterize the association, friendship and peace."
"The closeness of the two symbols, the two flags, highlights a symbolic and humanitarian union, tolerance and willingness, an active coexistence with mutual respect and support," explained Cerraroni.
Between the end of the 19th century and the mid-1900s, San Marino saw a great exodus of thousands of its citizens, many ending up in Detroit, such as Olimpio Guidi, a native Sammarinesi who became an American citizen and served in the Navy as a hospital corpsman.
"In order to further strengthen ties between those who immigrated to the United States and to assist those that returned to San Marino, the Mutual Friendship Association was founded in 1978," said Guidi. "The MFA sponsors social events, including celebrating two uniquely American holidays: Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July."
Guidi added that civilian and military representatives of the United States have been honored guests at these events in San Marino.
Lt. Col. Steven Cade, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Livorno, expressed his delight in attending this year's ceremonies, which he did with his family.
"San Marino began issuing its own stamps in 1877 and has released a famous series dedicated to the Presidents of the United States, emigration to the United States and Walt Disney ... to be part of the friendship stamp ceremony really enforces how much our two cultures have in common," said Cade.
Daniela DiPierro, vice consul at the U.S. Consulate in Naples, who also participated, added: "I was humbled by the gracious hospitality of the association. I know I can speak on behalf of my countrymen when I say thank you from the bottom of my heart. I can only hope to have the pleasure to visit the beautiful Republic of San Marino again. I will cherish the beautiful stamp I was given as a token of our shared values of brotherhood, friendship, and peace."