Depending on our generation, memories of Memorial Day in the US often focus on a wall with a mirror-like surface that winds its way through Constitution Gardens in Washington DC. A lasting impression and memory, it honors US soldiers who served, fought, died or were missing in action during the Vietnam War. Having lived through those times I always experience a sobering nostalgia about the casualties of war with diverse reasons why wars are fought.
Italy’s memories of war often reflect personal experiences of solders and civilians with events that conflicted the entire world. The Monumento alla Resistenza in Sesto San Giovanni designed by Piero Bottoni and Polish artist Anna Praxmayer is a concrete wall monument reminiscent of the Viet Nam War Memorial in Washington. Scratched on its surface are not names but scenes that trace in thirteen stages the anti-Fascist struggle of the Italians during World War 2. Located in the Piazza della Resistenza, the wall gradually rises higher toward the sky with the sculptured form of Victory freeing a flight of bronze doves.
We visited The Wall several years ago with our Milanese cousin Lidia who now lives in Sesto. She like many other Italians of her generation have memories of bombings and hidings as children and families that lived through war, resistance and liberation. Lidia tells of being sent to live with relatives in Monza to escape the bombings of Milan and while riding her bike in Monza being caught in an air bombing. She showed us the building she hid in. The damage is still there. Having seen both Walls the damage of war is undenied.