Do you know this cemetery exists? I found it searching for cemeteries near Rome. Italian Cypress, Roman Umbrella pines and hedges outline the area. There are 7,861 American graves in ten sections covering 77 acres in Anzio/Nettuno south of Rome on the coast.
It was founded two days after the Anzio landing on January 24, 1944. The massive amount of dead from Sicily, Salerno, and Anzio were buried with simple wooden Crosses or Stars in an open field.
Dedication speech by President Dwight D. Eisenhower: “They died there valiantly and heroically, giving their lives that peoples of Europe might be liberated from tyranny. They rest tranquil and secure in the friendly soil of Italy.”
The Americans broke through the Nazi’s Gustav line on May 23, 1944, 76 years and one day before I visited.
There are names of an additional 3,095 soldiers who were missing in action or lost at sea.
George H.W Bush, US President was so impressed with the Lasa marble used for the crosses and Star of David, that he requisitioned them for his cemetery headstone in 2019.
Tragic, silent beauty in this sacred space. The Italian gardeners were quiet and respectful.
There were 2 Medal of Honor honorees (Robert Waugh, Sylvester Antolak), 25 sets of brothers, 390 unidentified burials, 17 women, 122 with Star of David, and every state in the USA was represented.
“I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and have been saved from my enemies.
The waves of death swirled about me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me.” II Samuel 22:4-6 NIV
Many Italian Americans fought for the Allies and the Italian Axis saw their defeat begin in Sicily.
The Italians do not speak much about WWII, but it influenced the food and memories in throughout. When Mussolini realized they were to be defeated, he negotiated a truce with the Allies. This led to the slaughter of thousands of Italians who had led the Resistance and fought against the Germans. Italy fed the war machine – literally, fed the Germans at the expense and starvation of their own people.
Add the Rome/Sicily American Cemetery and Florence American Cemetery to your visit to Italy. I was astounded at the beauty.
How do you honor the dead in your family? In your country? Soldiers? What traditions do you have in your country?