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Off The Editor’s Desk – 5-28-2014

Memorial Day on Monday was a day to remember those who gave so much to their country. I visited a couple of local cemeteries where the local veterans groups honored their departed comrades.

 I would also like to report on the memorial for Second Lieutenant Ellen Ainsworth at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial, Nettuno, Lazio Region, Italy. Ainsworth, a Glenwood City native, was the only women from Wisconsin to die in World War II as the results of enemy action.

Sally Berkholder, of New Richmond, and formerly of Glenwood City, who is a member of the Glenwood Area Historical Society visited Ainsworth’s gravesite early this year and has been in contact with cemetery officials in Italy. The cemetery selected Ainsworth and several other service people that perished in Italy to be honored. A front-page story in Sundays St. Paul Pioneer Press did a great job telling about Ellen’s service.

The following is an email that Berkholder received from Tina Young of the cemetery:

“Dear Sally, I hope you and your family are well!

We’re in the ‘home stretch’ of the exhibit installation for the new Visitors Center and the contractor installed Ellen’s panel this week. I’ve attached a couple photos, which I thought you might enjoy seeing. The photo does not do it justice; the panel is beautiful and sits in the middle of the Sacrifice Gallery near the window with the afternoon sun shinning on it.

I’ve received several letters from Wisconsin senators and congressmen highlighting Ellen’s heroism and I will read them at the Visitor Center opening. I will also send you some photos of the opening which is this coming Monday (26 May).”

Kind regards, Tina

Also a letter from Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson:

“It is truly a great honor to pay tribute to Second Lieutenant Ellen Ainsworth, army nurse. Seventy years ago, the 56th Evacuation Hospital at Anzio, Italy came under attack. Without regard for her own safety, Second Lieutenant Ainsworth was able to move her patients to safety, installing confidence in them and her fellow nurses. During the siege, she was wounded by shrapnel and died on February 16, 1944. Second Lieutenant Ainsworth was awarded one of the first Silver Stars by the United States for her calm courage and bravery, dedication to her job and gallantry in action.

America has always relied on her best and brightest sons and daughters to defend freedom and our ideals. With bravery and strength of character, Second Lieutenant Ainsworth willingly went into harm’s way on behalf of this nation, ultimately sacrificing her life. Ellen will not be forgotten. Glenwood City, Wisconsin, will always remember Second Lieutenant Ainsworth, as will Wisconsin and America. We gratefully acknowledge the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial in Nettuno, Italy, for their selection of Second Lieutenant Ainsworth to be honored and cherished, among all of our servicemen and women who came to rest on Italian soil.”

Ron Johnson
United States Senator

Thanks for reading. Carlton