A Walk Through the Anzio Military Cemetery

We spend much of our lives on the surface of things.  Memorial Day is no exception.  It is a day for me that pulls two directions.  One pulls towards a deeper and sober acknowledgment of the heart breaking and often courageous sacrifice made by those in the armed services.  As a former history teacher, graveyards and memorials, from Gettysburg to Omaha Beach, inevitably bring tears.

The other pull wants to say so clearly … we must move towards other ways.  Honoring the fallen and speaking for a world freed from violence are not at odds.  We can, as Christians, speak for veterans and against war.

Fr. Thomas Keating spoke of a profound spiritual experience he had during World War II.  A young Trappist monk during the war, he prayed fervently for those soldiers in harm’s way.  Years later, in a trip to Italy for a spiritual retreat, he toured the American military cemetery at Anzio.  The “thin place” he found walking that cemetery were whispers from the fallen that they had given in their war and that he was called to give in his … a war of love, a war of awakening.  He spoke, with tears, of feeling their presence cheering him on from their resting place.

He will judge between the nations

and will settle disputes for many peoples.

They will beat their swords into plowshares

and their spears into pruning hooks.

Nation will not take up sword against nation,

nor will they train for war anymore.  (Isaiah 2:4)

Tags: ,

One Response to “A Walk Through the Anzio Military Cemetery”

  1. Walter Anthony Swierczynski says:

    As a Vietnam vet, I understand the sentiment, but the best way to honor this day is to fight to bring our troops back from all around the world. They are being used as pawns for the rich industrialists, and serve no purpose for us, the common people. Even at this time (age 64) I would gladly give my life in defense of this country if need be, but to have our young folk sent all over the globe, stirring up trouble, and creating enemies, is an evil act of aggression that is unconstitutional. Please wake up, and see this for what it is.

Leave a Reply