"Greater love has no one than this,
than to lay down one's life for his friends."

John 15:13

My Father and The 473rd Infantry Regiment In WWII

This site is a tribute to my father, Technician Fifth Grade Clifford Eugene Audinet, wireman (and later, radioman) for the soldiers of the Hq. and Hq. Co., 2nd Battalion, 473rd Infantry Regiment, 5th Army who fought for the liberation of Italy in WWII. Dad was killed in action on April 26, 1945 at San Lorenzo della Costa, Italy. Also, the story of the 532nd AAA-AWBtn (Anti Aircraft Artillery-Automatic Weapons Battalion) with which he served, also as wireman, from October of 1943 in North Africa to January of 1945 in Montecatini, Italy, will be told. In addition, glimpses of many of the units of the U.S. 5th Army and the British 8th Army will be woven into the narrative.

Those of us who have lost our fathers in WWII have spent 50+ years keeping quiet or apologizing for our feelings. A great many of us were told, as children to "Keep quiet. Your dad was killed in the war and we don't talk about that." If that sounds cruel, it WAS. If it sounds unlikely, it is NOT. But, read on. We were often isolated from family members so as not to be "upset" by this loss. That attitude was generated from the various levels of grief and anger which our mothers experienced and their varying levels of ability to handle the loss. Some were strong (as was mine, though silent on the subject.) while others were unable to cope to varying degrees. Some had the help of close relatives who really cared and understood, while others decended into their own private hells of alcohol or untenable relationships. To add insult to injury over the years, monuments went up for Korean War dead, Viet Nam War dead, and even the people lost in various major transportation tragedies. But no monument to our fathers.

There are monuments to the American fighting man in WWII, but they are in the countries who, even today, nearly 60 years after their liberation, understand the soldiers covenant; "He will give his life for his country and, his country will Remember". Each June the people of Luxembourg remember. The following is the speech from the June 23rd, 1998 memorial service at Goesdorf, Luxembourg. The speaker is Constant Georgen, President of U.S. Veterans Friends - Luxembourg.

"Today we gather here at this monument to remember Mister Alfred Etcheverry and all American World War II orphans.

Let us be grateful, that we are fortunate enough, to be able to remember. Let us commit the courage to act for remembrance, where others want to dismiss with a shrug what Nick and Michelle's father, what Sam's father, what Susan's father, what Marilyn's father and all the men in American uniforms, all those "Missing in Action", "Killed in Action", all the veterans - and there are some among us today - did for the preservation of life.

The willingness of those who tried so hard, and then, when the fighting became unbearable, tried even harder, in the midst of a wretched abyss of hell, who needed every ounce of courage to fly, to move, past one more doorway, go around one more curve, progressing in the most miserable conditions; they all deserve our commitment, to honor them forever. They didn't stop and choose if they should go on. They kept going, to ensure that children would have life.

We must keep the rememberance of them going forever, for they kept our lives going, millions of fortunate lives, lives that would know laughter and love, for years beyond the short lives of the many men in American uniforms. This monument gives us a chance and honor to pay tribute to the dead and to thank all the men and women, both living and dead, who served in World War II. We have not fortotten. We shall not forget their sacrifice and their suffering. We shall not forget the suffering of thier families, and of their children."

America hadn't remembered and only projects like the films "Saving Private Ryan" and "The Thin Red Line" have stopped the slow fade into nothingness of the memory of our father's sacrifice. The countries we liberated remember and we do not. They lost their freedom and know what it means to have it returned, we have never lost ours and do not know the horror of tanks rolling through the home towns of America and bombs falling on our children. We do have a monument now, thanks to the individuals who contributed to the WWII Memorial Project. We need to REMEMBER, to HONOR, and RE-UNITE us with our fathers now. Lorin McCleary, a member of the American WWII Orphans Network said it best;

"Our fathers may have been from different parts of the country, from different backgrounds, in different branches of the military and may have died in far flung locations around the world, but they had one thing in common, you can be assured... they shared the dream of the day when the combat would end and they could return home to their wives and us, their children. It is truly ironic that the one common dream that all held so dear was the one thing which none lived to see, the end of combat in WWII. We, their children shall be their witness."

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