Chargè d’Affaires Smitham at the Veterans Day Ceremony, Sicily-Rome American Cemetery, Nettuno

October 11, 2021

(As prepared for delivery)

Distinguished guests, veterans, ladies, and gentlemen.  Thank you all for being here today.

We thank you for joining today’s ceremony, which honors those service members, including those who rest in peace here, who made the ultimate sacrifice.  I am honored to be with you today as we pay tribute to these brave citizens.

The strong partnership between the United States and Italy has helped bring about an unprecedented period of peace and stability in Europe.  Our two countries have stood shoulder to shoulder supporting important NATO operations, from Afghanistan to Iraq to the Italian-American military presence along NATO’s southern and eastern flanks.  Through their service now, American and Italian troops continue to honor the memories of those who gave their lives over 75 years ago defending the same principles our troops fight to protect today.

Ladies and gentlemen, a heartfelt thank you for your presence here today.  It is right that we pay tribute to our veterans and fallen heroes here and at other battlefield memorials, as their sacrifice is a debt that can never be repaid.