Our plan was to visit the Tremiti Islands last weekend however the weather refused to cooperate. And so, we postponed the trip and visited the town of Ortona.
Ortona was the site of one of the bloodiest battles of WWII. In December of 1943 Canadian troops fought their way through rain, mud, and artillery fire, to make their way into the town. There, they fought from one house to the next, claiming one street at a time, and eventually liberated Ortona from the Nazis.
Our first stop was the War Museum where our friend Tomasso explained the significance of the battle. We were led to the centre of the museum that holds a model of the town, showing us what Ortona had looked like during the battle. Tommaso, who was 10 years old during the battle, shared his experiences of the war with our group. He asked our students, to always remember the ugliness of war, and the importance of preserving peace.
The students then had time to explore the museum and examine its many artefacts from the war.
We then had time to explore the town. As you can tell by the more modern architecture, much of the town had to be rebuilt after the battle.
We finished the day with a tour of the nearby Moro River Canadian War Cemetery. Here are the resting places of over 1300 fallen soldiers. For many of our students, it was an emotional experience to read the names, and the ages, on the tombstones of the soldiers that died during that horrific battle.