Background on Project
Prior to the 2012 ACORA ITALIA Trip, then 10th Mtn. Div. Desc. President, Val Rios, discussed with Immediate Past Desc. President, Patricia Thornton, the need to have photographs of all grave sites of the 10th Mtn. Div. soldiers interred at Florence American Cemetery, available on our descendant website. Pat Thornton was placed in charge of this project and developed a plan so that participants of the 2012 Trip would take photographs of the grave sites. Most of the grave sites were photographed in 2012 and in 2014, Val, on a personal trip in Italy, photographed the remaining grave sites. However, some of the photographs needed to be taken again and with the help of John Luncheon and Linda Agnello from the ABMC at the Florence Cemetery, all needed photographs were obtained. Val completed the project and with the approval of current Desc. President, Steve Coffey, the project was submitted to our web master in June, 2015.
ANCORA ITALIA 2012: Florence American Cemetery and Memorial War Graves Project
Photograph a 10th Mountain Grave
GOAL: The goal of the 10th Mountain Division Descendants, Inc. Graves Project is to photograph every 10th Mountain Division war grave in the Florence American Cemetery and Memorial. These photos will either be in the format of a picture of a headstone or a name on a memorial. The pictures will be posted on the 10th Mountain Division Descendants, Inc. and the Tenth Mountain Division Foundation websites and archived in the Denver Library.
Many of the families and friends the 10th Mountain Division war dead will never get a chance to visit the graves of these fallen WWII soldiers due to the distances and expenses involved with such a journey. Hopefully, by archiving these photos, we will be able to close a missing chapter in many people’s lives by supplying them a photo of the last resting place of a loved one. By archiving these photos, we will have created an online 10th Mountain Division collection, and future generations in turn will hopefully be able to learn from this archive, remember these soldiers and never forget their sacrifice.
BACKGROUND: The American Cemetery and Memorial, located in Tavarnuzze, is about 8 miles south of Florence in the beautiful Tuscan countryside. Maintained by The American Battle Monuments Commission, the cemetery was established for the men in the Armed Forces killed in the northern Italian campaign.
The 10th Mountain dead were first interred at Castelfiorentino, about 25 miles southwest of Florence. Memorial services were held at the cemetery by individual units of the Division before the soldiers returned to the US in July 1945. Construction of this permanent cemetery was completed in 1959. In 1949, families had the option of bringing their soldiers back to the United States or having them remain in Italy. Of 4,402 soldiers in the Florence Cemetery, 326 are from the 10th Mountain Division.