July 1943… Invasion of Sicily on these beaches

July 1943 marked the beginning of the Italian Campaign with the invasion of Sicily along its southern coastal beaches.  Sicily, while occupied by the Germans, did not suffer the brutality that was inflicted on the French and Dutch who lived along the Atlantic Wall.  In France and Holland, even Belgium, every small town has a  memorial or  monument in gratitude and memory of Allied soldiers who liberated the local citizens.  In Sicily, very few memorials mark the locations of fighting.  We pursued the liberation trail to find those monuments, and honor the men who fought.  A small monument below this bunker marks the location at the Ponte Dirillo Bridge where the 82nd Airborne encountered fierce resistance by the combined German and Italian forces to defend a bridge and causeway across a flooded river valley, critical to moving vehicles from the landing beaches into the heart of Sicily where the Germans occupied the high ground near Mt. Etna.