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Sunday, May 27, 1917

On May 27, 1917, the Italian War Commission—led by Ferdinando di Savoia, Prince of Udine, who had served in World War I with distinction as a captain of the Italian navy—paused in its mission of political and economic dialogue to visit Mount Vernon, where the prince laid a Roman hero's wreath at Washington's Tomb. In his address, the prince referenced the inspiration that Washington provided to the leaders in the ongoing conflict.

We feel that to establish a fuller human life, and a nobler union of mankind, we should let ourselves be ruled, as regards all nations and even as regards our enemies, by that sense of justice inspired by your hero. Therefore we come to this tomb seeking purification... In the name of my cousin, the King of Italy, and the people of Italy, I solemnly declare that we shall never lay down our arms until our liberty and the liberty of all the people suffering with us has been rendered safe against all surprises and violence, and our victory must be that of progress and justice.


Above Italian Mission on the east lawn at Mount Vernon. Fernando di Savoia, Prince of Udine, is standing with arms folded. At the right is Count di Cellere, the Italian Ambassador. On the other side of the Prince is Mme. Di Cellere. On the end at the left is Hon. Enrico Arlitta and next to him Hon. Augusto Cinfelli, of the Commission. Signor Marconi on right of Countess di Cellere.