World War II Veterans from St. Louis will attend a service in Florence, Italy this week where 4,402 Americans are buried.
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The site covers seventy acres, chiefly on the west side of the Greve River. The wooded hills which frame its west limit rise several hundred feet. Between the two entrance buildings a bridge leads to the burial area with the headstones of 4,402 American Military Dead, representing thirty-nine percent of the U.S. Fifth Army burials originally made between Rome and the Alps.
Most died in the fighting which occurred after the capture of Rome in June 1944. Included among them are casualties of the heavy fighting in the Apennines shortly before the war’s end. On May 2, 1945, the enemy troops in northern Italy surrendered. At Florence, the headstones are arrayed in symmetrical curved rows upon the hillside. Above the burial area on the topmost of three broad terraces stands the memorial marked by a tall pylon surmounted by a large sculptured figure. The memorial has two open atria or courts joined by the Tablets of the Missing upon which are inscribed the names of 1,409 Americans who gave their lives in the service of their country and who rest in unknown graves.