Saturday, February 16, 2008

All the Brave Young Men

The British World War II Cemetery at Siracusa doesn't have the beautiful location of those at Catania or Agira. It's right on the highway going into south Siracusa, no great views in any direction. It is, nonetheless, a moving place to visit. Almost one thousand soldiers, sailors, and airmen are buried here. Like the others, most were in their early 20s and privates. There are Christians and Jews and Hindus, Australians and Canadians and Indians and British. There are engineers, pilots, sharpshooters, a chaplain, a diver, and quite a few unknown soldiers and seamen. A few markers simply say "A Victim of the War." The cemetery is being renovated, and right now it's got very little grass and a lot of mud.

Three grave markers stood off to one side, not in the rows with all the others. They were markers for three men who were buried originally in other places were they fell and their original graves were lost.
In a few places, a number of men were listed on the markers, apparently where groups of them were killed together. The fighting in this area took place primarily in July 1943, as that is the time period on nearly all the stones.

Family members must have had the option to put lines near the bottom of the markers. Some are religious verses, some poetry, and some are personal. Today I took a lot of photos of those. It never fails to affect me in the same way . . . all of these men killed in the prime of life, or even before. War was not, is not, and never will be the answer.

See all photos HERE.


At February 18, 2008 1:18 PM, Anonymous Susan said...

As you know, I agree 100% that "war is not the answer". It was brilliant to weave history with present day concerns about our continuing involvement in Iraq. Pace, Susan


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