I attend classes every day to try and speak Italian with a little more fluency than the day before. I’m learning that there are numerous ways to speak about the past: Passato prossima, passato imperfetto, and trapassato. Each relates to a specific chronological relationship. Sometimes it’s the past in relation to the present and other times it’s further past in relation to the past. Headache inducing stuff.
Thinking about my family’s past, my paternal grandfather “Daddy Neil” Tibbets was stationed in Italy late in the second World War. His opinion of the Italians was (in a very slow Texas drawl), “Well, we had ’em the first time (WWI) and they had ’em the next time (WWII)”. Pretty sure Daddy Neil didn’t think about the Italians very much. . . When he was in Texas or in Italy.
No matter how little Daddy Neil thought about Italy’s role in WWII, Italy is preparing for Liberation Day on the 25th of this month. This day marks the end of Nazi power in Italy. A permanent commemoration to the travesties of war is located in Piazza Italia in the city center of Perugia.
I am sure my translation is flawed, but I believe the inscription reads, “Umbria remembers her five hundred children in arms interned in Nazi concentration camps – they were detained by tyranny and fell for peace and liberty.”
I’m trying to find my point in all this information. Seventy years after my grandfather, I’m living in Italy. Reflecting on the enduring destruction of war, effecting nations on both sides, I’m excited to celebrate liberation later this month.