Thursday, January 14, 2010
Honoring WWII American Soldiers: Coast To Coast Italia
audaxitalia has announced a new 600 km brevet, the Coast To Coast Italia in honor of the American soldiers that lost their lives during WWII. The event will begin in Nettuno on May 29th.
The explanation for the creation of the event was given as follows (in Italian):
"Important enterprises have been created by simple men with ideas and goals without limits, perhaps not conceived by ordinary men.
In 1978, John Collins, former U.S. Navy commander, and his wife Judy after a discussion about which was stronger, a swimmer, cyclist or runner, created the Iron Man of Hawaii.
In 1982, four runners competed at the Great American Bike Race from Santa Monica Pier, CA to the Empire State Building in NY. From that day it has become an international event, the RAAM, the hardest athletic event to do in the world.
Great ideas, ordinary men with no limits and above all without fear of failure to make an attempt. Self motivated, or to overcome an illness, every athlete has his own motivation and makes his own choice to compete, to test his limits which normal men may not attempt.
On January 22, 1944 between Anzio and Nettuno fifty thousand men landed with all their equipment without the "choice" of going to war, having left their homes, their wives, their children to give us the opportunity to live freely, leaving us the choice.
Today, at the "Sicily-Rome American Cemetery" cemetery in Nettuno are buried 7,861 Americans who died on the beaches of Nettuno, Anzio, Monte Cassino and Sicily, never to return home. They gave their lives to give us the opportunity to live freely. Many young enough to have have never had a girlfriend. Those that died had no choice.
Great men, great efforts to respect these men who never returned home. The "Ride to Finish" team has created the first Coast to Coast Italia in order to remember these men. 600km starting from Nettuno, arriving in Silvi Marina, and returning to Nettuno. The departure will be a special moment. At 9:30 on May 29, we will start all together from the Sports Hall of Nettuno and be escorted by police up to the first control at one kilometer at the American cemetery.
Monday, May 31st is Memorial Day in America and is a national holiday. Americans remember the dead of all wars. Here too the cemetery at Nettuno every cross or gravestone is decorated with a flag and a flower. Thanks to an agreement with the Americans, we at Team Ride To Finish will be able to honor these men by putting a flower and a flag on the crosses without a name.
Those boys who died, those nameless boys, who by no choice made the ultimate sacrifice and never returned home. To my fellow randonneurs, for this Coast To Coast Italia, I ask you to ride for those unnamed boys that were buried in Nettuno sixty-six years ago. He has done his duty for us with no choice. Give him a name, give him a name."
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