Wednesday, June 4, 2014

On Another June 4 - So Much to be Saved...

On this date in 1944, a rather unusual incident took place during history's greatest conflict:
The city of Rome was awaiting American troops after the long and bitter battle, which finally drove the German troops out of and to the north of the Eternal City.
But before the eagerly awaited troops entered, a number of American planes flew over the city and dropped  thousands of leaflets which contained a message to the civilians beseeching them to prevent Rome from being destroyed by Scorched Earth vengeance.
The Nazis did indeed  declare Rome to be an Open City; nevertheless,  there was great fear that the threat of destroying the city and the immeasurable treasure in the forms of the core of Roman Catholicism, let alone  Man's art,  in countless incarnations,  still existed - there was still a vivid, horrid memory of the destruction of the ancient monastery at Monte Cassino, which  still haunted those who were involved with that tragic event.
Happily, no such dark action took place in Rome, and American troops marched into the city the following day, greeted by thousands of deliriously happy citizens who, the day before, were eerily quiet amid the leaflets that were falling upon them.    

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