June 19 Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial (Day 266)

Our reason for coming to Nettuno, Italy was to visit the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial and find the headstone of a particular soldier. Lieutenant James A. Calhoun, a Tuskegee Airman, was buried here in 1944 after being shot down and killed over Yugoslavia on a mission flying out of the liberated airfields of Italy. He and his family were highlighted in a CBS Sunday Morning episode “Honoring America’s war dead far from home“, back on November 12, 2023. It was a moving episode and we wanted to come and pay our respects at his gravesite.

We arrived after a 15 minute walk under an overcast and muggy sky. The feeling was somber when we entered, matching the weather.

We went into the visitors center where we learned about the many overseas cemeteries filled with American war dead from WW1 and WW2, and this cemetery in particular, from the battles in Sicily to Rome. The towns of Nettuno and nearby Anzio were battlefields where Allied forces landed behind the German lines to assist other Allied armies fighting up the center of Italy and stalled at the German line.

Some of the history.

And some of the background. Fascism is rearing it’s ugly head again, and right in our midst.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”; attributed to writer and philosopher George Santayana.

An official at the visitors center conversed with us and was able to locate the grave we were looking for so we headed out to find it.

There are over 7,800 graves and over 3,000 names of the missing engraved on the walls of the memorial.

He gave his life for our freedom in the USA, his country, where he was severely discriminated against during the Jim Crow era. Again, that is rearing it’s ugly head too.

A contemplative garden. What a juxtaposition to the graves of those who died in such gory, bloody, violent war.

Leave a Reply