WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2017/2018

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: https://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/897427

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Page 75 of 195

includes more than 1,000 Polish graves, including Anna Maria's mother and father's situated side by side. A section of 18 graves, each marked with a Star of David, bears witness to the sac- rifice of the Polish-Jewish soldiers. "Life is strange," comments Anna Maria. "Times have changed since Poland was under martial law and the communist commander turned his back on my fa- ther's grave. It's ironic that so many years later that I, the general's daughter, am in Italy represent- ing the Polish government." After Monte Cassino, the group traveled to Bologna to commemorate the 72nd anniver- sary of the final battle fought by Polish troops in Italy. It was the first time that a ceremony was held at the Polish cemetery in Bologna, the largest Polish military cemetery in Italy with approximately 1,400 graves. Julian Bussgang and fellow soldiers who took part in the Battle of Bologna received a special medal, "ObroŇĄcy Ojczyzny 1939-1945," (Defenders of the Fatherland). Jessica comments about the surprise tribute, "Anna Maria and the oth- er government officials hosted a beautiful and meaningful ceremony, complete with pomp and circumstance to present the medals." The veterans' trip began in Rome, where the Polish delegation lined up along the route of the Popemobile to receive a special bless- ing from the Pope. The group then partici- pated in a brief ceremony inside the Vatican at the grave of the Polish Pope, John Paul II, the first non-Italian Pope since 1523 to pre- side over the Catholic Church. The trip con- cluded in Reggio Emilia, a small town north of Bologna where the Polish national anthem "Marsz, Marsz D browski" was composed in 1797 when the Polish Legion was serving with Napoleon's French Revolutionary Army in the Italian Campaign. "The group kept a rigorous schedule, but I didn't hear any of the 90-year-olds complain," explains Fay. "We all had wake-up calls at 5:45 a.m. and were on the bus with our bags at 7:30 a.m., ready to travel to our next destination." 74 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | w i n t e r 2 0 1 7 / 2 0 1 8 From Poland With Honor

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