Assisi War Cemetery 11 November 2018

Discussion in 'War Cemeteries & War Memorial Research' started by vitellino, Nov 12, 2018.

  1. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Assisi 11 11 18 (1) jpg.jpg Hello everybody,

    Yesterday I was present in this cemetery for a commemoration ceremony led by a local priest in the presence of the mayor of Assisi, members of the public including those who had adhered to the extremely worthwhile local 'adopt a grave' scheme, (600 servicemen have been adopted to date), former members of the Italian armed forces and children from the local PRIMARY and NURSERY schools.

    The children were there for a purpose: assisted by persons I assumed to be their teachers they engaged in a 'ceremony within a ceremony', during which they wore coloured hands as a sign of peace and sang 'peace' songs, some of which were in English. To emphasise what they were about, before the start of the ceremony a rainbow-coloured 'peace flag' had been draped around the base of the cemetery cross by two young women, and it was on top of this banner that the wreath donated by the city of Assisi was laid by two former members of the Italian Armed forces.

    I had the sensation that there was a hidden agenda and that the ceremony had been hi-jacked by the peace movement for political purposes. (There is a massive annual 'peace march' from Perugia to Assisi in early October every year.) I asked myself if the Cwgc in Rome had been advised that this ceremony was to take place, and whether or not authorisation was required for the display of a banner not connected with any of the nations whose fallen are buried there. I have just e-mailed them to ask, and wonder if their constitution states for which purposes the war cemeteries may be used. I can't find a copy of this consititution on line.

    I have been present at several commemoration ceremonies in Assisi War Cemetery. In the past, in the presence of the mayor, a priest, representatives of local institutions including the Red Cross, and military attaches from Rome, an appropriate decorum has always been the keynote of the proceedings. Using the cemetery as a location for a 'peace protest' involving small children is a new development. (N.B. the fascists were also adept at catching them young - in their case it was the 'Ballila' movement and the 'Figli della Lupa' - Google them!)

    It might be a bit strong to say I was distressed by what I saw. I am still searching for the correct words to express how I felt. I was asked to speak at the end of the proceedings and found the task almost impossible given what had gone on beforehand. Fortunately for me, some family members of one of the servicemen buried there were in attendance, and I was able to refer to him and tell his story, explaining to the children why he had ended up in the cemetery.

    I hope you will reply in the negative, but I would like to know if any of you have come across anything similar in war cemeteries or at war memorials elsewhere in the world? When one of the family members sends me a photo he took I will add it to this post,

    Last edited: Nov 13, 2018
    HA96 likes this.

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