said, "War is madness."
Though he said international use of force is justified to counter ISIL's aggression, he also suggested that World War III has already begun, but piecemeal, in a collection of massacres, crimes and destruction.
He was speaking at the largest monument in Italy, at Redipuglia. "Humanity needs to weep," he said, "and this is the time to weep."
The identities of 60,000 of the Italian dead at Redipuglia are unknown. But Italian officials did find the military records for the grandfather of Pope Francis, who fought in some of the 12 battles in this place, and survived. His family later emigrated to Argentina, which is where the current pope grew up.
My grandfather Ignazio Severini emigrated to America in 1920. He had been called up by the Italian army in the Great War, what we now call World War I. He never talked about it to me. I don't know where he was posted, and my grandmother's few stories were not about battle. But she did say he was posted to the north, which Redipuglia is. My aunt told me that he had been gassed, and suffered effects from it for years afterwards.
Wherever Ignazio Severini had been, he survived. Perhaps, my grandmother believed, because he was a tailor, and the officers kept him safe so they would look good in their uniforms. War is madness. Still, he experienced poison gas, so maybe not so safe.
But he was not among those 100,000. He came home, married my grandmother and fathered a daughter, Flora, my mother. The anniversary of her birth is today.
Library Days: The Hardy Boys - This is one of a series of posts on my childhood reading and origins of my relationship with books, prompted by Larry McMurtry's reflections in his book, W...
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