April 25th, 2014, national holiday, the "Liberation Day" recalling the 25th of April 1945 when some of the main Italian cities reached the freedom from the Nazi-Fascists thanks to the long battle of the Partisans and Allied Forces.
This Friday, the 25th of April, approx 27000 of Vicenza's residents will have to leave their homes within 08:30 a.m. for the defusing of the "Old Lady", a British bomb containing 4000 pounds of explosives.
One of the thousands of bombs dropped on Vicenza between the 17th and the 18th November 1944.
“Old Lady” is probably the heaviest and most powerful of those bombs.
In those days, the 18th in particular, when many civilians were also brought to patch the holes caused by the bombing of the day before, some hundred people lost their lives.
Many were injured and died during the following days.
Many children got killed and mutilated in the weeks after, playing in the fields where many cluster bombs were still active.
A good amount of bombs ended deep underground. Some were found years later during farming works.
A reasonable quantity, over 130, have been found in these last few months during the land reclamation of a portion of the former small airport now named "Parco della Pace" (Peace Park) adjacent to the new (and second) US military base in Vicenza.
It's a big field that for 70 years stored these bombs as seeds unable (fortunately) to sprout.
I really think that this fact, the big "Old Lady" and the other 130 and more bombs found so far, should offer the occasion to think about the long lasting damages of war.
After 70 years these bombs are still dangerous to the point that people must be evacuated in a radius of 2500 meters this coming Friday.
The military experts working on the bombs declared that the "Old Lady", with its 1500 kilos of "Minol II" equivalent to approx 1800 kilos of TNT, is one of the most dangerous ever found in Italy.
In case of explosion, after 70 years, more people would be added to the victim list of WW II!
How many other bombs and mines are sleeping under a few inches of soil around the World ?
How many people die every year or loose legs or arms because of bombs and mines even years after the official ending of a war ?
In almost every continent there are still wars and fights.
During these 70 years we didn't learn much.
Not here in Italy, as well not in many other parts of the World.
Having a foreign military base next to the "park of the bombs" is a clear proof.
These foreign soldiers are deployed "promoting democracy" supported by aircrafts and drones utilizing those "intelligent/smart" bombs we all have known for causing the death of many civilians in villages, markets, hospitals and schools.
It's a very sad aspect of this modern world.
Considering our “bomb day”, leaving home this Friday morning, I would like to imagine that probably the "Old Lady" and these other 130 and more “sleeping” bombs found are the real "intelligent" bombs.
I imagine that while falling down from the aircrafts, seeing the massive destruction below, a real hell on earth, these bombs in some way said “enough is enough” and chose to refuse to do their job.
They deserted and went to hide under soft ground instead of blowing up causing further destruction.
May be they are trying to teach us something ?
Until now this “Old Lady” has been really capable to learn from human errors and horrors.
Via Marosticana 299/Z, 36100 Vicenza, Italy
UNESCO Heritage City