NAPLES, Italy (NNS) -- The secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) commemorated Memorial Day and met with Sailors and Marines at Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy, May 31 to June 1.
Mabus began his Memorial Day trip by paying tribute to those who served and died on the shores of Anzio and Nettuno during a commemoration ceremony at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial outside Rome.
During the ceremony, Mabus talked about the sacrifice and heroism between both the Italian and U.S. service members.
"It is because of all those that fought here that we sit today in shared camaraderie. It is because of them that we all remain free to think as we wish and live as we do," said Mabus. "It is because of the world that they created for us that for the past 60 years young Americans and young Italians in uniform have stood together against terror and those who would send the world back into darkness."
The ceremony also included remarks by U.S. Ambassador to Italy David Thorne, Adm. Mark Fitzgerald, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, and U.S. World War II veteran Clyde Easter. At the conclusion of the commemoration, Mabus commented on the veterans he met and how their service impacts Sailors and Marines today.
"The veterans that are here today who fought on the shores of Italy during World War II have created an everlasting legacy. We cannot hope to know every individual act of heroism that occurred here," said Mabus. "Today thousands of Italians stand shoulder to shoulder with our forces in Afghanistan as part of NATO and the International Security and Assistance Force. Today almost 12,000 Americans are stationed here in Italy. We are brothers and sisters in arms. We are family."
On his final day in Italy, Mabus toured Naval Support Activity Naples. He met with Fitzgerald and Vice Adm. Harry B. Harris, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, to discuss current operations in Europe and the Horn of Africa, regional relations and issues impacting Sailors and Marines and their families.
After the brief, Mabus received a tour of the Fleet Command Center and watch floor where he got a firsthand look at the daily operations supported by the commands based in Italy. Later, Mabus had lunch with Sailors and Marines, participated in an award and promotion ceremony for both enlisted Sailors and officers and spoke to the command during an all-hands call.
"The reason I am here today is that I wanted to say thank you for the work you're doing here in Naples. When you are doing your job, you are always a long way from home," said Mabus. "The level of commitment you have, and the quality of work you do for America is always appreciated by me, your families and the American people. Thank you again and God bless you and your families."
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