Gothic Line Memorial Park Dedication
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We present here a record of the 2 June 2003 dedication of the Gothic Line Memorial Park at La Torricella di San Quirico di Vernio, which was known to Allied Forces simply as "Hill 810".
The principal combatants at Torricella in the period 14-22 September 1944 were the American 133rd Infantry Regiment, 34th 'Red Bull' Infantry Division and the German 754th Grenadier Regiment, 334th 'Phalange Aphricaine' (African Phalanx) Infanterie Division.
All the photgraphs are 'clickable', which will allow you to see them in their larger size.
A reflection while still 100 meters below the top: "Now I can appreciate why it took the 1st Battalion five days to capture this bloody hill three times."
It reminds one of Bill Mauldin's
"Hit th' dirt, boys!" cartoon.
Salute to European and National Colors.
Michael Caldari, Superintendent, German Military Cemetery, Futa Pass;
Lt. Col. Peter Brey, Deutsche Bundeswehr, representing German Armed Forces;
Patrick Skelly, representing US 34th Infantry Division Association;
Capt. Amy McCain, US Air Force, representing American Armed Forces;
behind her are two Alpini, carrying a wreath for the Italian Armed Forces.
Capt. Amy McCain, USAF, and Patrick Skelly, 34th Infantry Division Association, placing the Division's wreath in front of the permanent plaque.
Captain McCain is an Olmstead Scholar, currently attached to the American Consulate in Firenze.
"May they have no more hills to climb,
nor cold, nor rain, nor mud, nor enemy fire,
and may they now rest in Peace."
That, our brief statement, was translated into Italian and German by Master of Ceremonies Lt. Pietro Garofalo of the Carabinieri, also seen here.
It was then followed by my salute of honor exchanged with Lt. Col. Peter Brey, representing the opposing German Forces.
34th Infantry Division
10-24 Settembre 1944
Here many soldiers fought and died
Viele Soldaten Kaempften und starben hier
Qui molti Soldati combatterono e morirono
U.N.U.C.I. - Unione Nazionale in
Congedo d'Italia - Prato
2 Giugno 2003
MILITUM - MMIII
In Memory of the Fallen Soldiers - 2003
On the day after this ceremony, Skelly paid a visit to the German Military Cemetery, a few miles away (by straight line) at the Futa Pass, where some 30,000 of that nation's soldiers now rest in Peace.
Lt. Col. Peter Brey, Patrick Skelly, and Lt. (Ret.) Riccardo Barni at the conclusion of the ceremony.
Lt. Barni, Vice-President of the Prato Section, Italian National Association of Reserve Officers, was our contact in developing the documentation for this dedication, the organizer for the memorial and ceremony, and the producer of a videotape being presented at the 2003 reunions of the 34th Infantry Division.
The initial program, e-mailed several weeks before the event, promised luncheon with "a brook of wine" But it was not until seeing this brook flowing that we understood how the Alpini (Mountain Infantry) dispense their beverages!
A right proper feast was served to all - Government and Association officials at several levels, clergy, medics, Alpini, Bersaglieri, Carabinieri, Guarda Forestale, press, visitors, and local citizens - after the ceremony.
The monument would not exist with the work of many heroes. All deserve our thanks, but a few especially so. Lt. Pietro Garofalo of the Carabinieri is seen here complimenting the new "Red Bull" hat of a Bersaglieri hero, one of two who escorted and assisted our ladies in their ascent of the 150 meter rise at Hill 810.
Companion webpages are now being developed identify the key individuals and organizations involved in the creation of the Memorial Park and this dedication ceremony, and will provide online the text of the information brochure published and distributed at the ceremony. Copies of that brochure will be available to all 34th Infantry Division veterans of the Battle of Hill 810 at their July 2003 reunion in Dayton OH and September 2003 reunion in Council Bluffs IA.
Current page: www.34infdiv.org/feature/gothpark.html
Photo Credits: Rudy VanEwijk and Patrick Skelly.
Design Copyright © 2003-2006 Patrick Skelly, for the 34th Infantry Division Association.
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For further Association information, contact Jerry Gorden.
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