East of Paris Bookstore

Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day

Today, as we celebrate Independence day, I cannot but remember the American Cemetery and Memorial at Nettuno, Italy, where rest our war dead from the Italian campaign in World War II.
A dignified yet painful symmetry
The cemetery at Nettuno is a place of peace and of a painful yet magnetic beauty, a special island of order 38 miles south of Rome and surrounded by decaying urban areas in a scruffy land of reclaimed swamps. Like other American military cemeteries from the Civil War onward, Nettuno is a place of utter simplicity and quiet depth. In his book, Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words that Remade America, Gary Wills notes that starting in 19th century, cemeteries became expressions of "simple grandeur" and that 
As the trees spread and extend, the quiet beauty ... will yearly become more striking ... (p. 70)
The tall slender Roman pines at Nettuno have spread to provide shade for our fallen warriors in an almost forgotten corner of Europe. I cannot help but send a prayer of thanks to them as I complete preparations for our 4th of July BBQ and party. Without them, and others like them, we would have no freedom or party.

A few more photos ...

1 comment:

  1. This is gorgeous. It looks like such a peaceful, reflective place. Thanks for sharing...


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