2009 G8 Summit – Obama Motorcade
On April 6th, 2009 a tragic event occurred in the Italian region of Abruzzo: a big earthquake caused massive destruction and many civilian deaths in the region’s capital, L’Aquila, and the surrounding area.
It’s hard to imagine, but still today much of the city is a big construction site.
That same year Italy was chosen to host the G8 Summit. The area picked for the meeting was La Maddalena, a small island just next to Sardinia which is the second biggest Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea.
The earthquake changed everything and the Italian Government, led at that time by Mr. Berlusconi, decided to move the meeting site from La Maddalena to L’Aquila.
The aim was to shine a spotlight on the dramatic event that affected the region and the city.
The 35th G8 Summit was scheduled to begin on July 8th, so they had only two and half months to redo all the plans.
This was a very short amount of time because they had to find a secure and big enough site to accommodate so many heads of state and organize all the security.
At that time, I was in touch with Rome’s American Embassy through a friend who was also a bodyguard.
So, at the last minute, I received an unexpected call to join them just a week before the event, although most of the hired drivers and other staff had already started a month before. I accepted right away!
I arrived in L’Aquila a few days before the event began and I was told to go to a hotel located on the west side of the city, right outside the red zone, an area forbidden to everyone because of the possibility of aftershocks and buildings collapsing.
This hotel, which has since changed its name, was being used by the American entourage such as the FBI and the White House staff.
I felt so excited because I understood the importance of this mission.
I thought that I would also be staying at this hotel, but it was already fully booked and because of the earthquake, there were no more available hotels close by, therefore I had been booked at a ski resort up in the mountains.
Once I stepped inside this hotel in the mountains, I realized that it was full of police officers and security personnel and, although I had never carried a gun in my life, I was surrounded by hundreds of people carrying not only guns but also automatic assault rifles!