[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1994, Book I)]
[June 3, 1994]
[Pages 1019-1020]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Remarks at a Ceremony Commemorating the Liberation of Italy in Nettuno
June 3, 1994

    Thank you, President Scalfaro, Prime Minister Berlusconi, Secretary 
Brown, Chaplain Kendall; Mr. Shirley, thank you for that kind 
introduction and for your moving rendering of the history; to the 
citizens of Italy who are here, and especially those of Nettuno who have 
helped to make this day possible and every day special at this 
remarkable place; to the leaders of our Congress, our administration, my 
fellow Americans, and especially to the veterans and to the active 
military personnel who have worked so hard to make this day a success.
    We stand today in fields forever scarred by sacrifice. Today it is 
hard to imagine that this is now a place of peace. It is lush with the 
pines and the cypresses. But 50 years ago when freedom was in peril, 
this field ran with the blood of those who fought to save the world.
    Row upon row of white marble stretches now before us, 7,862 markers 
in all. The names of over 3,000 other Americans still missing are 
inscribed in the chapel here. All of them died young. But half a century 
later their legacy still lives. They fought as liberators in Sicily and 
Salerno, along the Gustav line and here at Anzio, Nettuno.
    One Italian, moved forever by Salerno, said, ``We were tired, 
hungry, and terrified. Then overnight, coming out of the mist as in a 
dream, the Americans arrived, bringing us hope and strength. The price 
was enormous. At Anzio, Nettuno, no one and no place was safe. German 
guns and air power made every last person here a combatant, every cook 
and baker, every driver and mechanic, every doctor, nurse, and chaplain. 
But amid the horror of the guns something rare was born, a driving 
spirit of common cause.''
    The late General Ernest Harmon, Commander of the 1st Armored 
Division, put it well when he said, ``All of us were in the same boat. 
We were there to stay or die. I have never seen anything like it in the 
two world wars of

[[Page 1020]]

my experience, a confidence in unity, an unselfish willingness to help 
one another.'' That spirit is known as brotherhood, and that is why the 
statue behind us is called ``Brothers in Arms.''
    Our duty is to preserve the memory of that spirit, memories like 
that of Private Robert Mulreany. On February 7, 1944, his brother, 
Private Eugene Mulreany, lay wounded in the field hospital. Robert was 
visiting when they heard the sound of planes overhead. As the bombs 
fell, Robert threw his body on top of his wounded brother. He saved his 
brother's life, even as he gave his own.
    Italy's devastation then seemed total. I have been told a story by 
my cousin about my own father, who served here in Italy. Back home, his 
niece had heard about the beautiful Italian countryside and wrote him 
asking for a single leaf from one of the glorious trees here to take to 
school. My father had only sad news to send back: There were no leaves; 
every one had been stripped by the fury of the battle.
    The battle for Italy, as Mr. Shirley so eloquently said, hastened 
Hitler's demise. It cemented the alliance, supported by the British, the 
French, the Canadians, free Poles, and New Zealanders. The battle here 
pulled German troops away from other fronts. It yielded vital lessons 
that helped to win the day at Normandy. It inspired the Italian 
Resistance, as the President has said. Along the way, the Italians took 
up their rightful place as loyal allies, and they have remained there 
ever since, through these 50 years.
    The spirit of common cause did not die here. A generation of 
Americans went back home to carry on their work. There was a platoon 
leader from Kansas savagely wounded in combat; an anti-aircraft 
commander from South Carolina who fought in Corsica; a Hawaiian 
lieutenant who lost his arm while in the war's only American fighting 
force of Japanese ancestry; a coastguardsman from Rhode Island who 
served in Sicily. Today we know them as Robert Dole, Ernest Hollings, 
Daniel Inouye, Claiborne Pell, each a young American who came of age 
here, each an American patriot who went home to build up our Nation. We 
honor what they have given to America in the United States Senate as we 
honor what they did for us here. Thank you, gentlemen.
    Fifty years later, we can see the difference their generation has 
made. America is strong; freedom is on the march. Here in Italy, the 
glorious trees, like the country, have been restored to life.
    Too many Americans do not know what that generation did. Somewhere 
in America a child rummaging in an attic may find a war medal or a black 
and white photo of a younger but familiar face in uniform. Yet we cannot 
leave memory to chance. We must recall Elie Wiesel's commandment to 
fight forgetfulness. And we must apply it to the valor as much as to the 
horror, for to honor we must remember.
    And then we must go forward, for our job is not only to praise their 
deeds but to pursue their dreams, not only to recall their sacrifices 
for freedom but to renew freedom's promise once again. We are the sons 
and daughters of the world they saved. Now our moment for common cause 
has come. It is up to us to ensure a world of peace and prosperity for 
yet another generation.
    Thank you, and God bless you all.

Note: The President spoke at 10:48 a.m. in the Sicily-Rome American 
Cemetery. In his remarks, he referred to President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro 
of Italy; Rev. Marcus Kendall and John Shirley, veterans of the campaign 
to liberate Italy; and Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor and humanitarian. 
A tape was not available for verification of the content of these