By Karin MartinezJanuary 26, 2018
VICENZA, Italy (January 26, 2018) - A centennial celebration honoring the legacy of Italian army Maj. Carlo Ederle took place here today at the Eternal Flame in front of Building 1, and brought together installation leadership, members of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8862 and invited guests.
Ederle, for whom Caserma Ederle is named, was an artillery officer in the Italian army during World War I and was killed in action Dec. 4, 1917, on the Piave River at age 25. He is laid to rest in Verona, the city of his birth.
The ceremony, organized by VFW Post 8862 in coordination with Italian Army personnel, included deployment of the Artillery Associations of Verona, Vicenza, Padova and Venice; laying a wreath at the war memorial; and reading the citation for Ederle's Gold Medal for Military Valor, which he earned for his bravery, combat experience and exemplary duty. The medal is equivalent to the United States military's Medal of Honor. It was posthumously awarded to Ederle by King Vittorio Emanuele III of Italy.
Andrea Ederle, nephew of the hero, was an honored guest at the 100th anniversary event. He thanked everyone involved for celebrating the memory of his uncle and talked about the Carlo Ederle Foundation, which Andrea's father began in 1964.
"I have no merit in being the nephew of Carlo Ederle," he said. "But I have the privilege of helping to keep his memory alive [through the foundation]."
Andrea Ederle said the organization is committed to the promotion and strengthening of the values of duty, courage, selfless service and heroism, for which Carlo Ederle paid the extreme sacrifice on the battlefield. The foundation is based in a former Austrian fortress in Verona and houses a World War I museum.
"Being here on base gives our foundation the opportunity to go beyond Vicenza and Italy and reach out to our American partners, as we share the same core values. If Carlo Ederle were here today, I am sure he would remind Soldiers to stand united, abiding by those principles that shape our nations: protect peace and defend the homeland.
"This is especially true for American Soldiers," he added. "They are peacekeepers all over the world, and Carlo Ederle would be pleased to see that Soldiers bring those values wherever they carry out their mission."
One local Italian leader who attended the ceremony represented the Vicenza mayor's office. Federico Formisano, chair of the Vicenza City Council, paid tribute to Carlo Ederle while also praising American Soldiers.
"It is an honor to stand here with you in front of a monument that pays tribute to American fallen heroes - Soldiers who fought to defend peace and bring democracy after years of war. This is why I think it is appropriate that, while remembering the heroic sacrifice of Carlo Ederle, we also pay our respects to the American Soldiers who came first to Vicenza, deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, and then were killed there fighting to protect peace and democracy," said Formisano.
Major William Orkins, executive officer for U.S. Army Garrison Italy, said he was humbled by today's event.
"It is such a great honor and pay tribute to Maj. Carlo Ederle 100 years after his death," said Orkins. "His dedication, sense of duty and selfless service remain an inspiration to both Italian and American warfighters at the installation named after him."
Carlo Ederle was nominated for lieutenant colonel and knight of the Military Order of Savoy. He was awarded the Silver Medal of Military Valor three times and the Croix de guerre (Cross of War) with palms by France.
Caserma Ederle was named after Carlo Ederle sometime after his death but became unoccupied. In 1955, the U.S. Army moved to the installation and the name was renewed. Names of streets in some cities/towns also bear his name -- to include Rome, Verona and, in the province of Verona, Grezzana and Bonavigo. Some military installations, monuments and classrooms at different universities were also named for the fallen hero.