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Young Soldiers
Created: 04/04/2018

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In the voice of Antonio Licciardi - This photo reminds me of the times I spent fighting the war for my country, Italy. At just 16 years old, me and other young boys were told we had to go join the battle at the northern border of Italy facing Austria. Most of us had never held a weapon, let alone experience the cold weather of the north. Yet, there was nothing we could do - our country needed us. So, we barely had any training and were given a bag with a few essentials to carry along with us, food, water, a uniform, some medical supplies, and weapons. Most of us southerners did not last very long at all. We were becoming malnourished, sleep deprived, but worst of all we were hypothermic. The trenches were just extremely cold with all the snow and harsh weather of the winter. Our army was so desperate for what they considered “able men” that they tried to keep us there as long as possible. Everywhere around us men lay dead, their bodies being preserved in the snow. Eventually we were transported back to Sicily when our generals decided we had enough. A lot of us, myself included, required amputations to remove the dead limbs from our bodies. However, this did not mean that we were no longer able. A few months after my recovery, I was sent another enlistment notice in the mail. I was able to appeal to my local government and avoid being drafted again, but what crazy times those were. Most of my late childhood days were spent at the war, or being reminded of it at home. This photo reminds me of the conditions I faced while in the war, although the pain of war did not stop once I returned from the warfront, and I’m sure that this is true for all soldiers of war. The social and psychological effects of war are sometimes devastating. Men and families didn’t talk about these feelings too much though, and just tried to carry on like everything was normal.

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