While in Italy, my family was able to visit a fallen family member who was lost in WWII. My great uncle Pvt. Frank J. Nagy, died in Italy on April 22, 1945. Ironically, this was the same day that Hitler admitted defeat after Russian forces overtook Nazi defenses in Treuenbrietzen, 40 miles southwest of Berlin. Although it wasn't until May that the German Forces surrendered.
When approaching the memorial, surrounded by forests on all sides, there is a small bridge one must cross before approaching the actual head stones. The valley is clearly visible from a major highway and looked after by two caretakers. There are over 4000 American soldiers buried on the 70 acres of land given to the United States by the country of Italy.
The two small buildings that flank the bridge before crossing into the memorial space are used by the care takers and visitors. One is an office for the care takers to use in their daily tasks. The other is a small state room and bathroom area for visitors. Around the state room are brochures in English and Italian explaining what the memorial is and where to find a specific soldiers headstone. Also in this room are flags visitors may take out to be placed in memory of a loved one, fallen in battle.
My great uncle Frank was located easily thanks to the location given to me by my uncle James, and I took a moment to think about Frank, his service and sacrifice.
My son placed a flag in Frank's memory and asked lots of questions about the memorial.
We then walked up to the memorial buildings which are filled with more information about the war, a marble mosaic map of the movements of the Allied troops in Italy, and a chapel.
Each wing is dressed with fountains in a central space, surrounded by recessed spaces filled with text related to the soldiers buried in the cemetery, the unknown soldiers, and the missing. A large wall lists all of the unaccounted for soldiers by name.
There is one solider listed in the memorial who was given the Medal of Honor and 5 groups of brothers who are buried together as well.
It was a beautiful place, well suited for the memorial. I was honored to be the first person from our family to make the trip. It took 2 attempts, several buses and a few hours of confusion; but it was well worth every minute.
Thanks to my uncle James Nagy for reminding/suggesting that I make the trip to this wonderful memorial while I was close to the location. I hope this serves as a testament to my great uncle Frank Nagy and what he did for our country.