April 09, 2005
NY State American Legion Commander to Address May 5th WWII 60th Anniversary
Ceremony in Italy
Paul A. Cortright, the 2004-2005 New York State Commander of The American
Legion, will provide an address on May 5th in Florence Italy, at WWII memorial
ceremonies to be held at the Florence American Cemetery. The ceremony will be
the concluding WWII 60th Anniversary ceremony in Italy that Commander Cortright
and his delegation will participate in from May 2nd to 5th.
(PRWEB) April 8, 2005 -- Paul A. Cortright, the 2004-2005 New York State
Commander of The American Legion, will provide an address in Florence Italy, at
WWII memorial ceremonies to be held at the Florence American Cemetery. The
ceremony will be the concluding WWII 60th Anniversary ceremony in Italy that
Commander Cortright and his delegation will participate in from May 2nd to 5th.
The delegation will include members of Post 50 from Pelham NY, as well as
veterans and family members from across the country.
On Monday May 2nd, the 60th Anniversary date of the unconditional surrender of
enemy forces to the Allies ending World War II in Italy, the delegation will
participate in a major ceremony to be held at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery
located in Nettuno, Italy. Commander Cortright will present a wreath on behalf of all
veterans. The cemetery is the resting place of 7,861 Americans lost in the fight to
liberate Italy. Additionally, the names of 3,095 Americans who were missing in
action in the region are memorialized in the white marble walls of the chapel.
The delegation led by Commander Cortright will pay respects at the cemeteries of
several Allied countries who served in the fight to liberate Italy from 1943 to 1945.
On the afternoon of May 2nd, the delegation will place a wreath at the British
Beach Head War Cemetery, located in Anzio, Italy. The cemetery was established
in January 1944, following the sea-borne landings, near the site of a casualty
clearing station. It contains 2,200 British, 70 Canadian, small numbers of
Australian, New Zealand and 25 South African burials. On May 3rd, the delegation
will present a wreath at the Polish War Cemetery, located at Mount Cairo, in
Cassino, Italy where 1,049 Polish soldiers are buried who lost their lives in the
battle preceding the liberation of the Montecassino Abbey, which took place on
May 18, 1944.
On May 5th at 11 AM the delegation will conduct a traditional American Legion
“Memorial Day” ceremony at the Florence American Cemetery located 7.5 miles
south of Florence along the Via Cassia highway. Commander Cortright will provide
remarks at this event. Short readings will be conducted reflecting on the heroism of
individual US service men and women who served in the Italian campaign of WWII.
This cemetery is the final resting place of 4,402 American military members and
the "Tablets of the Missing" remember 1,409 Americans who were missing in action
from the region. New York State has 642 residents interred or memorialized at this
cemetery the most of any one state.
These WWII 60th Anniversary ceremonies in Italy were initiated by The American
Legion, Dept. of New York, Pelham Post 50 in order to remember members of its
Post who served in Italy, their colleagues, and the nine Pelham NY residents who
were among the 19,475 Americans* lost in the nearly two year fight to liberate Italy.
Interred or Missing in Action service members memorialized at the two cemetery
sites include 1,761 New York State residents. Plans are being coordinating with the
Department of Defense World War II 60th Anniversary Commemoration Committee
(http://www.60wwii.mil/), the American Battle Monument Commission (http://abmc.
gov/), which operates 24 overseas cemeteries and staff of the US Embassy in
Commander Cortright, a resident of upstate Redwood, New York; has been a 20
year member of the John B. Lyman Post 904 located in Alexandria Bay. He is both
a past Post commander and Jefferson County commander. He has served in
numerous county, state and national leadership positions within The American
Legion including vice chairman of the Foreign Relations Council on the National
level. In 2001 he received honors as Legionnaire of the year from Jefferson
County, the Fifth District and the Department of New York. The Department of New
York is one of The American Legion’s largest state organizations with 1,003 local
Posts and a membership goal in 2005 of 178,000 Legionnaires.
A U. S. Army veteran, Commander Cortright served in Hawaii, Germany, Italy,
Korea, and Vietnam between 1958 and his retirement in 1981. His military
decorations include a Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Army
Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Vietnam
Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and Army Recruiter Badge. A
native of Syracuse NY, he graduated from North Syracuse High School. After his
Army career he served as a security specialist at Fort Drum, until his retirement in
2000. Married to the former Linda Adams, the couple have three sons and nine
Service members from Pelham who were lost in the Italian campaign of WWII
include fliers Richard Lewis Elliott, Kendall King Fish, Paul A. McCarthy, Bertley H.
Moberg, James H. Scott, and Ellsworth Totten III. Herbert Retallack was lost when
the destroyer USS Rowan was torpedoed after leaving Salerno. William Lisecki and
Herbert W. Butcher of the US Army were lost as infantrymen.
Travel opportunities to Italy can be obtained by calling Harriet Balter of Rich
Worldwide Travel at 1-888-882-7400 or Andy Ambrose of the Stephen Ambrose
Historical Tours at 1-888-903-3329. Armed Forces Television is expected to
provide video highlights available to domestic broadcasting organizations, for
information on usage contact Mr. Melvin Russell of the Pentagon Channel at 703-
The American Legion with 2.7 million members, is the world's largest veteran's
association. Pelham Post 50, commanded in 2004-2005 by Michael Barrett,
organizes Pelham's Memorial Day parade and a variety of other veteran's and
community support projects. Additional project information can be found at
Kenneth G. Kraetzer:
914 - 381-5353 x3457
American Legion Post 50 SAL 50 Goes to Italy
In May 2005 members of Post 50 and its Sons
of the American Legion Detachment organized
a trip to Italy to conduct World War II 60th
Anniversary ceremonies at the two American
Cemeteries at Nettuno and Florence.
American Legion Post 50 SAL 50 New York USA