Travel-Florence American Cemetery TB
Tuesday, 27 May 2014
Texas, United States
This is not collectible.
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About This Item
Like most of the other cemeteries maintained by the American Battle Monument Commission, the Florence American Cemetery and Memorial is far less well known than the on above Omaha Beach in Normandy, It is difficult to speak of the beauty and tragedy of these places. This writer cannot walk among the graves without tears.
This cemetery is a short bus ride south of the city of Florence. It covers about 70 acres, chiefly on the west side of the Greve River and framed by wooded hills. There are headstones of 4,402 of our military dead are arrayed in symmetrical curved rows upon the hillside. They represent 39 percent of the US Fifth Army burials originally made between Rome and the Alps. Most died in the fighting that occurred after the capture of Rome. Included among them are casualties of the heavy fighting in the Apennines Mountains (mostly 10th Mountain Division) shortly before the war's end. There are also tablets of the missing upon which are inscribed 1,409 names. These are mostly bomber crews.
We had two other experiences while there. An American legislator came while we were there, I think the office personnel said they were from New Jersey. They arrived in two minibuses with an entourage of 10 or 12. They carried a handfuls of small US flags and were presumably placing them on the graves of the fallen from their state. Photos were taken. Women (wives?) were bossing the staff around. Then, without contemplation, they were gone.
Another group visiting the cemetery were US students. We spent some time with them at the bus stop. The students were taking a college class in Travel Writing taught by a US expatriot in Florence. He challenged the students to think about what would cause the people buried there to leave their homes and fight in a war. Only a couple of students were paying attention, the others were engaged with their phones. I was struck by their seeming indifference to the fact they had been walking among the remains of kids, many younger than they, who had been asked to do a very adult thing.
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