JCU Participates in Memorial Day Ceremony in Nettuno
By Nastassja Biles
On Sunday May 28, 2017, the Guarini Institute along with members of the International Relations Society attended the Memorial Day Ceremony hosted at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery in Nettuno, an hour from Rome. The ceremony commemorated all the soldiers who lost their lives in Italy during WW2. The family members of two soldiers resting in this cemetery were also in attendance.
The ceremony began with a performance of both the Italian and American national anthems by the Amazing Grace Gospel Choir. The mayor of Nettuno, Angelo Casto, saluted all civilian, religious, and military personnel in attendance on behalf of the US embassy as well as the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC), which built and maintains the cemetery. He spoke of the honorable men and women who believed in freedom and sacrificed their lives for it. Casto stated that the memory of the past should help us avoid making the same mistakes in the future, and unite everyone under a single flag called ‘peace.’
Kelly C. Degnan, Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy, read a message from the President of the United States, Donald Trump. The message stated that Memorial Day is a reminder that freedom is never free, and that we must remember those who defended freedom and were the guardians of our inalienable rights. Additionally, it mentioned that the ceremony was honoring the final resting place of more than one million Americans who lost their lives in Europe while ensuring peace. “We pledge our national allegiance for the cause of freedom for which they died.”
The next speaker was Rear Admiral Daryl Caudle, Deputy Commander of the US 6th Fleet. Caudle, who has served in the Navy for 32 years, said that the sacrifices of those enlisted in the Navy pale in comparison to the sacrifices of the fallen. He mentioned the dedication and bravery of those resting in the cemetery, giving examples of some of the soldiers who lost their lives saving their comrades and even captive enemies, which he considered acts of selfless sacrifice. He found it gracious that Italy would honor these soldiers, and thanked his Italian brothers and sisters who were fighting for the same cause. Caudle mentioned the fact that Italy and the United States did not start off the war on the same side but that lives lost, regardless of flags, are tragic and meaningful.
The last speaker was General Agostino Biancafarina, Comandante Militare della Capitale. He thanked all the fallen soldiers who lay in the cemetery for their bravery in defending what they believed in. Biancafarina spoke not only of defending liberty and rights, but also democracy. He also talked about honoring those who sacrificed their lives fighting on foreign soil as well as the Italian troops who lost their lives in the same battles.
The ceremony ended with the laying of memorial wreaths on behalf of the ABMC, the US Embassy, and the Armed Forces of Italy.