Prince Harry Honors WWII Veterans at Monte Cassino

Not too long ago, Prince Harry joined the former servicemen of Poland as they celebrated the seventieth anniversary of the taking of Monte Cassino during the Second World War. Many were in attendance for the event, Prime Minister of Poland Donald Tusk among them. The site of Monte Cassino marked one of the deadliest conflicts of WWII, and Prince Harry honored the hundreds of fallen soldiers that it left in its wake.

Ceremonies were held at the Polish Military Cemetery, in honor of the fallen. Poppies were in full supply, brought by the several hundred current servicemen who attended the event. Neither the current military members, the Polish veterans, nor Prince Harry were there to honor the actual bombing of Monte Cassino, but rather to pay tribute to the lives lost as well as recognize the historical significance that the battle posed to the war effort, as it was one of the largest Nazi strongholds at the time of its demise, The Telegraph reports.

Many morals were uncomfortable challenged during the war, and the bombing of a monastery certainly posed one such quandary. It did not help that the building already held some historical significance at 1400 years of age. Prince Harry wore a solemn face as well as a cavalry uniform as he joined the veterans and their Prime Minister in their memorial services, during which the Polish PM reminded all in attendance just how much the Second World War affected Poland.

PM Tusk also addressed the liberties which were at stake during the conflicts, a thought which most definitely weighed on the minds of those involved in the taking of Monte Cassino. As gravestones were adorned with poppies, Prince Harry and the veterans were able to reflect on how different the world might have been had so many nations not joined together in the fight against extreme nationalism. During the entirety of the ceremonies, they were able to look up at Monte Cassino as a reminder both of what was lost and of what was gained.

Prince Harry is accustomed by his position to attending events that hold immense national significance, and this is certainly not the first event to which he has had to don a uniform. Amidst the solemnity and sheer respect displayed during the ceremonies, Prince Harry added to the tributes by hanging a wreath at the site in memoriam of all who served and sacrificed.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE