Riding for a Name – Memorial Day

Great ideas, ordinary men and above all men without fear of what the future holds . Athletes are motivated for themselves, motivated to win or to battle an illness. An athlete has a choice to compete or not to compete ,to measure himself against his own limits where normal men will not try.

On the first day of the landing here in Nettuno more than 36,000 troops and 3,200 vehicles came ashore without “having the choice to go to war or not” they left their homes, their families, their children to give us the opportunity ‘to live free , leaving us the choice.

Casualties were temporarily interred in the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial site located in Nettuno , Italy which later became a permanent cemetery/memorial . The cemetery covers 77 acres, rising in a gentle slope from a broad pool with a cenotaph on the island flanked by groups of Italian cypress trees. Beyond the pool are immense fields of headstones 7,861 of American military war dead, arranged in gentle arcs. The majority of these men died in the liberation of Sicily (July 10 to August 17, 1943); in the landings in the Salerno Area (September 9, 1943) and the heavy fighting northward; in the landings at Anzio-Nettuno Beach and expansion of the beachhead (January 22, 1944 to May 1944); and in air and naval support. There are 488 unknown headstones with 490 remains. Every last Monday of May Memorial Day (a patriotic holiday) is celebrated at Sicily/Rome American Cemetery to honor all Americans who gave their lives for their country.

This year in Honor and Rememberance of the hero’s that made the ultimate sacrifice the cycling team Ride to Finish from Nettuno led by Tony Lonero from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has organized the first Coast to Coast bike ride from Nettuno to Silvi Marina (near Pescara) and back 600km non stop. The riders who will be coming from all parts of Italy, the event will begin 0830 May 29,2010 at the Palazzo dello Sport in Nettuno , located at Santa Barbara area of Nettuno. At 0830 the riders will be escorted by the police and members of a local (WWII antique vehicles) club whose vehicles were used by the Americans during the war and in the landing of Anzio and Nettuno. The riders will be lead by a motorcade of jeeps, trucks and landing craft with the drivers dressed in American Uniforms, comming from Santa Barbara through the town square of Nettuno arriving at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery .

Upon arrival the riders will leave their bikes at the entrance and proceed to the Memorial where they will be given an Italian and American flag and directed to the area where they will put the flags on an unknown grave. After the riders have decorated the unknown graves, they will go back to the Memorial where Tony Lonero will lay a wreath at the base of the Brothers-in-Arms, a moment of silence and thank the riders for honoring our boys. Fermo Rigamonti president of ARI the federation of long distance cycling in Italy will present Joe Bevilacqua with the Italian national team cycling jersey. A member of the local city band will play taps as the last honor of the day to these brave men and women. The riders then will proceed to the gate to start the ride to honor the unknown.
tony lonero – another proud moment