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Elon students mark Veterans Day in Italy

Elon students commemorated the day at the Florence American Cemetery and Memorial.

Elon students marked Veterans Day 2011 at the Florence American Cemetery and Memorial.

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Veterans Day 2011 was remembered by Elon University students studying abroad with School of Communications professor Tom Nelson in the Florence, Italy program.

The students placed a bouquet of red tulips at the base of the memorial that dominates the Florence American Cemetery and Memorial where more than 4,400 American troops are buried. The soldiers were killed during the Allied invasion of Italy 1944/1945.

Students gave a brief speech commemorating the American sacrafice in that Allied campaign of World War II. Juniors Michael Callahan and Kaitlyn Antonelli said that they and the other students were the "direct beneficiaries of democracy's many freedoms" and that fact was not lost upon them.

From the American Battle Monuments Commission website:

The Florence American Cemetery and Memorial site in Italy covers 70 acres, chiefly on the west side of the Greve "torrente." The wooded hills that frame its west limit rise several hundred feet. Between the two entrance buildings, a bridge leads to the burial area where the headstones of 4,402 of our military dead are arrayed in symmetrical curved rows upon the hillside. They represent 39 percent of the U.S. Fifth Army burials originally made between Rome and the Alps. Most died in the fighting that occurred after the capture of Rome in June 1944. Included among them are casualties of the heavy fighting in the Apennines shortly before the war's end. On May 2, 1945, the enemy troops in northern Italy surrendered.

Dan Anderson,
Staff
11/11/2011 1:59 PM