I fly to Chicago tomorrow, spend a few days with relatives, then on to South Bend, Indiana on Saturday to attend a banquet at my alma mater, St. Mary’s of Notre Dame, where I will receive the 2019 Alumna Achievement Award. I still think I’m dreaming! It will be an awesome and exciting moment but very humbling in reality!

I’ll try to write whenever I have a moment in the days I’ll be gone but you can also follow me on Facebook or by tuning in to Vatican Insider, my weekend radio program and next week, as usual, my weekly appearance on Catholic Connection with Teresa Tomeo.

As you know, I took the day off yesterday, officially Memorial Day in the U.S. but it is a commemoration also marked in Italy, obviously a major player in World War II. Today’s column consists of the links to two blogs from one of several visits I’ve made over the years to Nettuno and Anzio in which I tell a wonderful story of a very serendipitous encounter with a WWII vet.


While Memorial Day is special for millions in America it is also very special for many Americans in Italy where, in the town of Nettuno, 38 miles south of Rome and near Anzio on the Mediterranean, there is the World War II Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial site. This peaceful, bucolic, 77-acre cemetery bears the headstones of 7,858 American military war dead, arranged on broad green lawns beneath rows of Roman pines.

The majority died in the liberation of Sicily (summer 1943); in the landings in the Salerno area (September 9, 1943) in the landings at Anzio Beach and expansion of the beachhead (January to May 1944).

Every year at this time there are special events and services in Anzio, usually in the presence of military and/or U.S. embassy officials. This year, the cemetery hosted its annual Memorial Day Ceremony on Friday May 24 at 5:00 p.m. I have been to several of ceremonies and they are truly beautiful and touching. In addition to the graves – most marked by crosses and some by the Star of David – the names of 3,095 Missing in Action are inscribed on the walls of a small chapel.

Here is Part I of a special visit to Anzio: https://www.ewtn.com/news/blog.asp?blogposts_ID=425&blog_ID=1

And the story goes on in this column: scroll down to “A DAY IN ANZIO, THE TOWN AND PORT”: https://www.ewtn.com/news/blog.asp?blogposts_ID=426&blog_ID=1

You might even want to visit this cemetery and these seaside towns on your next trip to Italy. An easy train ride and well worth the time!