That was a day to remember. On 26 May, hundreds of soldiers and civilians working in all NATO and supporting entities in Bydgoszcz, Poland, together with their families, as well as local NATO partners and friends, met at the 3rd NATO Signal Battalion’s compound to celebrate unity in diversity. They all responded to Major General Norbert Wagner’s, the Joint Force Training Commander, invitation for the 2023 International Day.
Learning from each other allows NATO members build unity and maintain cohesion of the Alliance. Events like the International Day create a perfect opportunity to get to know each other better and to strengthen bonds among the Allies as well as among staff members. This event was no different. The whole NATO community of Bydgoszcz, shared and explored what is best in NATO and Partner nations’ cultures, traditions and cuisines.
In national tents, members of 19 nations – Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Türkiye, the United Kingdom and the United States of America – wearing national colors, promoted their countries offering regional food, beverages, games and information products. Moreover, Lithuanian team, supported by His Excellency Eduardas Borisovas, the Lithuanian Ambassador to Poland, invited two musicians, who entertained the international audience with an exceptional music performance. The participants also admired a historical military vehicles, and children had fun at a playground established especially for them.
The NATO community in Bydgoszcz enjoyed the presence of important NATO partners and friends on that day. Brigadier General (ret.) Wojciech Grabowski, a former Commander of the Joint Force Training Centre, joined the event. Next to the Lithuanian Ambassador, also Honorary Consuls of Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Ukraine, respectively Mr Dariusz Zimny, Mr Marek Pietrzak, Mr Wiesław Olszewski and Mr Krzysztof Sikora, were among the International Day’s guests. Local authorities and academia were also represented, including the Deputy Mayor of Bydgoszcz, Mr Mirosław Kozłowicz, and Vice Rector of the Kazimierz Wielki University, Prof. Marek Macko.
The execution of such a complex event for the ever-growing NATO family in Bydgoszcz would not have been possible without the tremendous and passionate work of the planning team, led by the Joint Force Training Centre. The team was supported by NATO and Polish units located in Bydgoszcz, to include the 3rd NATO Signal Battalion, NATO Force Integration Unit Poland, NATO Military Centre of Excellence, Host Nation Support Unit, two Polish Brigades – 8th Kuyavian-Pomeranian Brigade of Territorial Defense and 1st Pomeranian Logistics Brigade, as well as staff members from local elements of the NATO Communications and Information Agency, National Support Elements, and representatives of all involved nations. The historical military vehicles exhibition, to include short rides, was organised thanks to the courtesy of Mr. Krzysztof Szortyka and Mr. Marcin Ceglarski from the "Kuyavian Garrison" association.