Seventy years after the conclusion of World War II, the families of repatriated Italian POWs are coming to Chambersburg, PA. Coverage in the Italian Press explains the history and the ties across the Atlantic Ocean to Franklin County PA. The special event, planned for Friday and Saturday, October 23-24, is making the lovely Italianate chapel at Letterkenny Army Depot a focus of international attention. At a glance, it is easy to see the Italian inspiration in the design. Highliths include the characteristic square tower, quoined brickwork, and curved arches above the windows and doors. The chapel is maintained by the United Churches of Chambersburg and is adjoined by the Franklin County Veterans and 9/11 Memorial Park, which are the launching point of the Franklin County Military Trail of History. Each year, four services are held at Letterkenny Chapel—Armed Forces and POW/MIA Day Service in May, the 9/11 Remembrance Service in September, Veterans Day Service in November, and Christmas Eve Service in December.
The commemorative event set for Saturday, October 24 begins at 9 AM with a Catholic Mass at the Letterkenny Chapel, Carbaugh Avenue in Chambersburg. Mass is led by The Very Reverend Luis Rodriquez, Pastor at Chambersburg’s Corpus Christi Church. Mass is followed by the dedication of a permanent display inside the Chapel, depicting the history of the Italian Service Unit at Letterkenny. Following the dedication of the display, activities move to the Corpus Christi Parish Center, Second Street in downtown Chambersburg. A special lunch at 12:15 PM, prepared by Chef Fabio Carella, will precede the lecture by Dr. Flavio Conti and Dr. Alan Perry. The lecture called “Italian POWs at Letterkenny Army Depot 1944-1945: Allies on the Home Front” will incorporate Dr. Conti’s research on the POWs’ capture and transport to the United States. He, along with Dr. Perry, will discuss the service unit’s work at the depot, their pursuits in free time, and their construction of the chapel and bell tower. Dr. Conti and Dr. Perry are collaborating on a book about this unique chapter of World War II history.
Letterkenny Chapel is an artifact of World War II history and forever links Chambersburg and Italy to shared history and memories.
The Franklin County Visitors Bureau has two tickets to the luncheon with reserved seating for the mass.
Are you interested in attending? Call us at 866.646.8060 or 717.709.7204 to tell us your story.