Today is Memorial Day here in the United States, a national holiday for honoring those who lost their lives while serving in the Armed Forces.
On this day, families and others wishing to pay respects to the fallen soldiers visit their graves, sometimes bringing flowers. Originally known as Decoration Day, the time each year for “strewing the graves of Civil War soldiers—Union and Confederate” with flowers was effectively promoted by Mary Anne Williams after the U.S. Civil War. Eventually, the last Monday in May became a Federal holiday.
Each year at this time, I visit one of the oldest cemeteries in my community, Rose Hill Cemetery, where a profusion of peonies bloom just in time for the holiday. These perennials are most concentrated in the oldest part of the cemetery; the largest peony clusters are believed to be well over a century old.
There are many graves in Rose Hill of soldiers from both the First and Second World Wars, as well as those of men and women who served in more recent wars and conflicts. The surnames are very familiar to me, and I reminded that many people I know have had relatives who went to war.
On Camp 59 Survivors, this is an appropriate day to remember three Americans who escaped from P.G. 59 in September 1943, but who did not return home.
Each was killed by Germans or fascists while traveling through enemy-occupied Italy.Continue reading