On the occasion of the 75. anniversary of the Battle for Monte Cassino representatives of Mazovian Banner of ZHP took part in the Scout Memory Expedition ZHP – Monte Cassino 2019, with it’s key point of anniversary celebrations at the Polish Military Graveyard in Monte Cassino, with attendance of veterans of 2nd Polish Corps (last witnesses of the victorious battle) and presidents of Poland and Italy – Andrzej Duda and Sergio Mattarelli.
Scouts and Instructors of Hufiec ZHP Sochaczew and Szczep Drużyn im. Prezydenta Ryszarda Kaczorowskiego in Bielsk Duży of Hufiec ZHP Grójcec, who joined the expedition, arrived in the middle of May in the region of Lazzio in Italy to take part in the 75. anniversary of the Battle for Monte Cassino celebrations. In the delegation there were also the comendant of the Mazovian Banner of ZHP hm. Cezary Supeł and the leader of the Council of Mazovian Banner of ZHP hm. Krzysztof Wasilewski, commendant of Hufiec ZHP Sochaczew.
– Scouts of ZHP have visited polish war graveyards in Italy for many years, to commemorate soldiers, who spilled their own blood on their way to the motherland. We try to get there every year. This years journey is especially important, as it takes place in the 75. anniversary of fights for Monte Cassino – mentioned Cezary Supeł before the expedition.
Each scout memory expedition is an incredibly important event – a moment, in which young people can get to know the history of their country even better. Especially becouse last witnesses of the battle arrive for it’s celebrations. It is a perfect occasion to meet the heroes of general Anders’s army and listen to their stories. These few days in Italy on the Scout Memory Expedition were an occasion to meet people and visit places connected with an important story.
After arriving in Italy, the Scouts reached Bologne, where they honored polish soldiers at the San Lazzaro di Savena graveyard. Next in line was Loreto graveyard, which is one of four, most important polish necropolies in Italy. There are 1 112 graves of the soldiers of 2nd Polish Corps there. In Loreto the Scouts also visited the Santa Casa Sanctuary.
Piedimonte San Germano was next. It was here, where the VI Pułk Pancerny im. Dzieci Lwowskich captured an important German position, right after conquering Monte Cassino. There is a monument here, that is commemorating Poles fighting on the fronts of World War II.
One of the grandest moments of the Scout Memory Expedition ZHP were celebrations of the 75. anniversary of the Monte Cassino battle. On the Polish Military Graveyard, scouts kept the guard by the graves of 2nd Polish Corps and as the bannerman. President Andrzej Duda, who took part in the celebrations, thanked the Scouts for their commitment saying: -Thank you, for giving such a grat evidence of love for those, who gave their lives away for their homeland and great respect, they are honored with for their sacrifice and heroism. For that, thank you, with all my heart.
During the celebration, the appeal of the fallen was readen and president, along with veterans put wreaths under Virtuti Militari cross. Along with that, senator Anna Maria Anders put flowers at her fathers grave.
During the celebration, address to the young was made by the veterans of the 2nd Polish Corps.
„You have to remember, for the future generations, the truth about the Battle for Monte Cassino, the truth about our sacrifice, about deaths of our friends, about desperation, with which we pushed forward under deadly enemy fire. All of this is written deep into our hearts, but we want to be certain, that when the last of us leaves this world, we will have successors, that will remember about this, will visit graves of our fallen friends and pay Them respect” – says the appeal.
In the time of such expeditions, it is extremly important for the scout youth to meet with the few veterans – heroes of Anders’s army – and hear about their memories. This time they met with prof. Wojciech Narębski and Kazimiera Janota-Brzozowska. In Monte Cassino, participants of italian expedition also met with generals daughter, senator Anna Maria Anders-Costa. On the Sunday, 19th of May, scouts along with their instructors took part in a holy mass in Basilica di San Pietro in Vaticano and tied a scout circle at the Piaza di San Pietro, as well as prayed along with Pope Francis. Scout expedition is an opportunity to visit interesting places. Participants visited Rome, beautiful islands of Venetian Laguna and Assissi, the place of Saint Francis cult.
The event was financed by National Institute of Freedom, with the founds from the budget of Goverment Programme of Support for the Scout Organizations for years 2018-2030, as well as Office for the Cases of Combatants and Repressed, Office of Mazovian Województwo and Mayor of the City of Sochaczew.