Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ponte Dirillo

On Saturday I had the opportunity to go to the Ponte Dirillo memorial ceremony.  This was my second time attending, but this experience was a bit different from the ceremony I attended three years ago.  To learn more about Ponte Dirillo see my post from 2007. The most significant difference was the location - this time the bulk of the ceremony was held in Gela, with only a portion of the ceremony being held at the actual Ponte Dirillo site.

The morning started off very early (much too early for me) because Les was driving a bus from base.  We arrived in Gela early as is usual for military functions so I had time to wander a bit before the actual ceremonies started.

Italian flag garlands decorated the square and nearby streets

Italians learn to ride Vespas early in life

The massive doors at the front of the Duomo in Gela

The first ceremony of the day was Mass held in a small church just off of the square. It was a lovely building with the most uncomfortable pews I've ever sat in! :) The mass was conducted by a Cardinal, which, even though I'm not Catholic, I think is a big deal.

Alter Boy
 Once the Mass concluded there was an Italian part of the ceremony in the church where the Mayor of Gela said a few words and an explanation in Italian was given as to the significance of Ponte Dirillo.

If anyone reading this knows what this uniform is for I'd love to know!

The American portion of the ceremony was held outdoors in the square in Gela.  During this portion of the ceremony all of the names of the men who died at Ponte Dirillo were read in a roll call.

Mr. Gousman - brother to one of the fallen at Ponte Dirillo

Les played Taps after the names of the fallen were read

After the ceremony there was a parade to lay a wreath at a plaque the next street over
After the ceremonies in Gela a large group caravaned out to the Ponte Dirillo site.

Les playing Taps at the Ponte Dirillo site with Parachutes billowing in the background

I'm honored to have been able to witness this memorial event twice during my stay in Sicily. Those who serve our country today work hard to ensure that those who have gone before are not forgotten.


Jennifer Janssen said...

Wow Ang, I went back and read the post from 2007. It's amazing how much your blog design and your focus and skills as a story-telling photographer have grown!

Cat said...

LOVE the pictures you captured. I really like the vespa kiddy ride, too funny. And the doors on the duomo did not have perspective until I saw the gentleman sitting next to the column. Again well done!
Oh, and I love seeing Les in uniform and playing taps.
Makes me a proud mum and mum in law!

Angela said...

Thank you Jen & Mom!!