NETTUNO, Italy -- The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) hosted a ceremony to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Allied Landings at Anzio and Nettuno Jan. 22 at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery. The ceremony kicks off a year of scheduled events to commemorate the 75th anniversary of WWII. It honored the almost 11,000 Americans who died fighting to liberate Italy and included a wreath laying, sharing of individual stories of people buried or memorialized at the cemetery, performances by the Italian Military band and U.S. Naval Forces Europe Band. The day concluded with a luminary where every headstone and name on the walls of the missing were illuminated with candles.
The allied amphibious landing at Anzio-Nettuno was a major joint operation with allied troops from the American 5th Army, 6th Corps, and the British 1st Infantry Division that marked the beginning of the offensive that led to the liberation of Rome in June 1944.
During the ceremony, Rear Adm. Matthew Zirkle, chief of staff, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, remarked about the importance of the commemoration of the landings. “Were it not for these landings, the ensuing battles, as well as the sacrifices of those who fought courageously, the campaign to successfully liberate Italy from the grasp of Axis forces would very likely never have occurred,” said Zirkle.
The ceremony honored and paid tribute to those whose lives were lost. “We remember their ultimate sacrifice,” said Zirkle. “They are the reason we are gathered here together, and we must never forget. They paid the ultimate price so that we could enjoy the freedom that endures today.” Commemorations like this inspire people of all ages and walks of life to remember, honor, and connect with the legacy of the “Greatest Generation,” and commemorates how the dedicated resolve of allies with a common purpose and shared vision builds proven partnerships that endure. As in WWII, U.S. Forces in Europe remain committed to ensuring a Europe that is whole, free, prosperous, and at peace.