My father-in-law Bob Bloch comes from a long line of veterans.

He served in the Navy, as did his father. There are even family members who fought in the Civil and Revolutionary wars.

Only one family member was killed in action. Army Private Kermit Moyer, Bob's uncle, died in Italy in World War II. It happened during a skirmish following the Battle of Anzio. Kermit is buried at the Florence American Cemetery.

"No relative that we know of from the United States has ever visited him in Italy," Bob said.

It's a sad situation shared by many service members buried abroad, but Bob's son Rob, my husband, wanted to make sure Kermit did get a visit. When we arrived at the cemetery outside of Florence, we got a tour of the grounds from Superintendent Angel Matos.

"These here that are buried here, this is 39% of those that died in this area," Matos said.

Matos took us to Kermit's grave, and pulled out a cup of sand.

"It's the sand of the Battle of Anzio, and we use the sand to do a rubbing on the lettering," Matos said.

Rob texted pictures to family in Pennsylvania, who sent back a letter written to Kermit's mother.

"I know the sorrow this message has brought to you. It is my hope that in time the knowledge of his heroic service to his country even unto death may be of sustaining comfort to you," the letter reads.

No one who knew Kermit is still around. But weathered mementos, like the letter, passed down through generations, give his family insight into who he was - a talented artist, an athlete, a young man who loved his 1935 Plymouth Coupe.

"He was 23 and I thought, what was I doing when I was 23? He had such a short life, like all these guys you know," Bob said.

The Florence American Cemetery is just one of 26 American cemeteries in 17 countries serving as the final resting place for more than 200,000 service men and women.

The American Battle Monuments Commission says approximately 17,500 of them are from Pennsylvania.

And while they are far from home, the Bloch's are trying to make sure out of sight doesn't mean out of mind.

"I thought of my grandmother, she isn't around anymore, she'd be proud that I went to visit him," Bob said.

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