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Sunday, August 27, 2017
The desperate fight at Monte Cassino and the veteran who remembers
Soldier who was there wants people to remember WWII battle of Monte Cassino
Pittsburg Post Gazette Torsten Ove August 27, 2017
Pearl Harbor. Midway. D-Day. The Battle of the Bulge. Iwo Jima.
The epic battles of World War II still resonate 70 years later.
Yet one of the costliest U.S. campaigns is barely remembered: The war in Italy and its linchpin, the desperate fight at Monte Cassino.
"You never hear anything about it," says Albert DeFazio. "It just boggles my mind. That's why I'm [ticked] off."
Mr. DeFazio is 92 and lives in Penn Hills.
He has two scars on his back, shrapnel wounds he suffered from a German shell burst at Monte Cassino in 1944. He earned the Bronze Star for actions under fire with the 36th Infantry Division and later came home suffering from shell shock — post-traumatic stress disorder in today's lingo — after more fighting on the way to Rome. He says he has symptoms of PTSD, all these decades later.
For years after the war, he rarely talked about his experiences in Italy. It’s a typical pattern among World War II veterans. His late brother Pat was shot in the neck at the Battle of the Bulge. The two brothers went home to live in the same house in Penn Hills, yet they never once talked to each other about what happened to them in the war.