Memorial Day Commemoration Held at Sicily-Rome Cemetery and Memorial
By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Felicito Rustique, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs
NETTUNO, Italy – Service members from Italy and the United States came together for a Memorial Day ceremony at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial in Nettuno, Italy, May 28.
Joint U.S. military and Italian platoons, the Italian Army Band, and U.S. Naval Forces Europe Band attended the ceremony to honor and pay tribute to the fallen warriors who made the ultimate sacrifice during the liberation of Sicily in 1943.
Adm. Bruce. W. Clingan, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, and commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, paid homage at the expansive 77-acre cemetery to the fallen heroes it enshrines.
“I stand before you in the tranquility of this monument with overwhelming feelings of pride, humility, and gratitude,” said Adm. Clingan. “It is in sanctuaries like this, that we find ourselves speaking in reverence to ordinary people who gave their last full measure in acts of extraordinary courage.”
Ms. Karen E. Johnson, deputy chief of mission and charge d’affaires at the U.S. mission to U.N. agencies in Rome, read President Barack Obama’s Memorial Day Proclamation to the audience.
“‘Our nation endures and thrives because of the devotion of our men and women in uniform, who, from generation to generation, carry a burden heavier than any we may ever know,’” Johnson read to the audience. “‘On Memorial Day, we honor those who have borne conflict's greatest cost, mourn where the wounds of war are fresh, and pray for a just, lasting peace.’”
Following the guest speakers, Adm. Clingan and Italian and U.S. dignitaries participated in a wreath-laying ceremony, honoring the 7,861 buried and the 3,095 still missing. Tributes were also made by Dr. Gianluigi Magri, Italy’s Deputy Minister of Defense, and American Battle Monuments Commissioner, Maura C. Sullivan.