War memorials and messages of peace

Hiking, war memorials and messages of peace

No date, ever lasting inspiration

Walking and discovery

The plant of the photo is with me since fifty years: it is satisfied with little, and waits for me. It is enough that I go back to her every now and then, to give her the little she needs, and every year she blooms that way.
When hiking we go slowly and have time to look around.
For long time I did not notice that in all the smallest. almost deserted hamlets of the mountains there are memorial stones and monuments, speaking of war victims, of World War I. Then, when I started the adventure of “più di 1000”, trying to go slowly, leaving from villages and crossing villages, I started noticing them

A war memorial in Vico Pancellorum, a small centre of river Lima valley

The war memorial at Ospitale, an almost abandoned in the high Modena Apennine

The war memorials

Quite a lot of memorial stones  are also placed in all our cities, but there we go fast, so we do not see them. These long rows of names seem normal things, among the crowd. In small hamlets I sometimes ask somebody how many people are still living there. Then I compare the numbers they say to the list of names on the memorials, and try to find a rationale: OK, one century ago much more people lived there, so there is nothing strange. But the victims were young men only, so there is no rationale, numbers are not balanced.

The memorial slab in  Cesenatico

If you want to know more about these monuments, memorial stones… browse the internet, where you can find an explanation of almost everything.  Their origin is based on laws that, after World War I, stated that war victims should be celebrated. The style is different; sometimes they speak of home land redemption, of heroes, or simply pain; sometimes specific stories are described.  Quite frequently these monuments have been used to celebrate the virtues of the nation.  They often speak about enemies: who knows how are the monuments built by the enemies, and what they tell.

After WW1, another war came: the name of its victims were often added to the monuments. As a matter of fact, their numbers are almost always lower than the ones of WW1 victims, contrary to what we generally believe.
And this second official war generated another one, fought somewhat underground. And this one left its memorials, as well, often only stone with names. The official ones are lost in the crowds of our cities. Plenty of them, the ones of local victims, are scattered along our Apennines. Most times they also speak about the enemy. This war was won, at the end. So, many, many enemies died, as well.

A memorial stone to a partisan war victim, amoung the woods of  Favale di Malvaro

Messages of peace

People who wrote the law to promote the building of these monuments in all hamlets did not have this though: but now, in the silence of the places, these monuments tell us: “peace”
Everybody should have the possibility to go back to their flowering plant for fifty years.
Walking slowly, a perhaps obvious thought came to my mind: too many people could not.
Now we still hear about wars and enemies, strategies, technologies, drones, humanitarian wars; and in our daily running these words sound normal. Walking slowly, staying a while to think about friends and enemies, tell us: “peace”.
Who knows, this is also hiking.

Hiking, war memorials and peace. Filippo D’Antuono. piudimille.com. All rights reserved.