Falciani’s Memorial Day 2024 & WW2 Heroes

A memorial at the Florence American cemetery

The 2024 Memorial Day observance on May 27 at the Florence American cemetery in Falciani will be a prelude to the 80th anniversary of the liberation of Florence (August 1944) from Nazi-Fascist forces in the presence of the U.S. Ambassador to Italy Jack Markell and Florence U.S. Consul General Daniela Ballard.

Against a backdrop of white crosses and Judaic stars that systematically denote the gravesites of 4,402 Americans who died on Italian battlefields north of Rome, the official ceremony open to the public (11 am) will also host other Italian and American authorities, dignitaries and religious leaders.  The Cuesta Concord Chorus will perform a Memorial Concert

With full military honors provided by members of the Italian and U.S. armies and music by the Carabinieri “Fanfara” band, a presidential proclamation from Joe Biden will be read.  Three wreaths – from the U.S. Armed Forces, the Italian people and the American people – will be placed on the Wall of Missing, which contains 1,409 names etched into stone for posterity.

Prior to 10 am, garlands from public organizations and private individuals can also be laid on the Wall of the Missing to join those from the city of Florence, the region of Tuscany, the Daughters of the American Revolution in Rome and others.

Towards the end of World War II, U.S. soldiers, in conjunction with Allied forces, landed in Lazio and Sicily.  The troops moved northward liberating citizens from the oppressive, fascist regime until German surrender on May 2, 1945.  During the courageous missions, lives were sacrificed; many were laid to rest in this 70-acre cemetery, which is also a memorial to the lost heroes, including Metal of Honor recipients, five sets of brothers, four women and a child.

On land given as a gift by Italy, the Florence-American cemetery is one of the 13 official WWII burial grounds in Europe under the jurisdiction of the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC).  (rosanna cirigliano)