With hearts full of gratitude the day after Thanksgiving, it was fitting to take a day trip south of Rome and visit Nettuno & Anzio where American soldiers landed on the beaches in 1945 during World War II. Sommer’s dad especially loves history so we thought it was a great time to check out this historical area.
First, we visited the American Cemetery and Memorial in Nettuno. At the visitor center there is a very well-designed timeline and history of the war as well as an informative film about the history of what specifically happened. The short film even kept our boys interested. The center also contains artifacts and interesting items collected from or used during the war. The beautiful cemetery has 7,861 of American military war dead buried there and pays tribute to 3,095 of those missing in action. It really brought things home to us as we saw many headstones of soldiers who were from Oklahoma.
After visiting the cemetery, we enjoyed a picnic at the beach nearby in Nettuno. Later that afternoon, we walked along the beach in Anzio and watched the sunset.
It’s overwhelming to reflect on all that happened during this monumental time in history. Over 70 years have passed since the war ended, but for most of us, it’s easy to go on with our daily lives and not remember or even think about the lives that were shed for our freedoms. Now, living in Italy where so many of these lives were sacrificed and where battles were fought on the grounds where we place our feet, it truly puts things in a different perspective. It reminds us that all freedom is always costly and something we should never take for granted.
Thank you to the brave men and women who have served and continue serving our country. We are indebted.