As many of us celebrate this Memorial Day by chilling out with friends or family, I think it is a good idea for us all to take a moment to remember those who gave their lives for our freedom. Not far from Podere Erica is the Florence American Cemetery. It is a beautiful, peaceful, well-maintained spot which you can see from this photo. During the Winter when there are fewer trees in leaf, I can see it on my right as I travel down the FI-SI to go to Podere Erica. I always admire the beauty and say a little thank you.
On this Memorial Day, May 29, 2017 there will be a ceremony. It is free and open to the public. A special time to visit the cemetery, but, of course you can visit any time during their opening hours.
You can visit the cemetery daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except December 25 and January 1. It is open on host country holidays. When the cemetery is open to the public, a staff member is on duty in the visitor building to answer questions and escort relatives to grave and memorial sites. More than 4,000 military fallen are buried on this 70 acre site of American soil in Italy. Most of them died in the battles after the June 1944 capture of Rome. Families had the choice of having their loved one buried at the Florence American Cemetery or sent home for internment in the U.S.
Each grave is marked by a headstone of white marble and is engraved with the decendent’s full name, rank, date of death, unit and state of entry into military service. Those of Jewish faith have tapered marble shafts surmounted by a Star of David. For those who could not be identified their headstone reflects the words: “Here Rests in Honored Glory an American Soldier Known but to God.”
Past the graves on a broad terrace stands the memorial marked by a tall pylon surmounted by a large sculptured figure. Here you will find the Tablets of the Missing upon which are inscribed 1,409 names of those missing in action. There is also a chapel of marble and mosaic. Besides escorting family to gravesite locations, and guided tour of the site, the ABMC office there offers other services like providing a photograph or lithograph of a headstone. All of their services are listed on their website. https://www.abmc.gov/cemeteries-memorials/europe/florence-american-cemetery#.WScizMaZNMN At this website you will also find many lovely photos of the cemetery as well as an option to search their database for burial and memorialization information on 200,000+ Americans honored at their 14 permanent American military cemeteries on foreign soil.
Florence American Cemetery is located on the west side of Via Cassia, south of Florence, just off the FI-SI.