Several months ago, a young man named Matteo Mengoni reached out to our organization with a fascinating photo and story. Matteo is a student at the University of Florence, Italy, and is from Mantignano-Ugnano, at the confluence of the rivers Arno and Greve.
Matteo observed writing below the old bridge of Mantignano that reads “Los Angeles City Limits – Co. G 442, Aug ’44”. Curious about the story behind this, Matteo began doing some research and found that Company G of the 442nd made a crossing of the Arno at that time, led by PFC Joe M. Nishimoto, who was later awarded the Silver Star posthumously.
Matteo says that there are now plans to destroy this bridge, which has fallen into disuse and disrepair. He and his friend Maurizio are trying to educate their community on the history of that bridge in an effort to save it. To that end, he gave a presentation last April to during an event organized by his district’s municipality to celebrate the anniversary of the Liberation of Florence. The presentation can be viewed, in Italian, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGCkSGyRLig. He also provided a PDF of information and photos, which can be viewed here.
Grazie, Matteo, for writing to us, and for your work to preserve such incredible history!