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PAGE 4 POST-GAZETTE, JULY 1, 2016 L'Anno Bello: A Year in Italian Folklore Celebrating Independence by Ally Di Censo Symynkywicz No other holiday smells, tastes or feels like summer more than the Fourth of July. It is the scent of fired-up grills emanating from every Ameri- can backyard, the light swirl of smoke rising up in the hazy heat. It is the taste of sweet but- tered corn crunching between your teeth. The Fourth of July encompasses the sounds of families laughing as they share food and memories outside, and of fireworks exploding across a silky night sky. To this day, I still feel a mysterious shiver when I hear the faint sound of fireworks bursting from some far-off festival during a starlit evening. These distant fire- works instill in me the feeling of the unknown, the sensation that little feasts are sweeping the country before the big cel- ebration of Independence Day. Because of these exciting and myriad feelings, the Fourth of July remains one of my favorite holidays, the quintessential cel- ebration of summer. It is a com- memoration of family and food, patriotism and heritage, history and diversity, all converging in a brilliant summer day. Had Massachusetts repre- sentative John Adams been correct, we would have been honoring our country's Inde- pendence Day on the second of July. That was the day in 1776 when, during the height of the Revolutionary War, the convention of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies known as the Second Continental Congress approved a resolution that de- clared independence from Great Britain. Adams predicted that this day would forevermore be marked with parades, bonfires and games. In reality, Adams's speculation on the nature of Independence Day celebrations proved accurate, only the date shifted to the fourth, when the Congress finally approved this declaration after much revision. Therefore, the Fourth of July commemorates a tremendous event -- a bold statement of independence, a desire to free ourselves from oppression that would inspire revolutions the world over. As a patriotic holi- day, the Fourth of July is also a perfect time to honor America's diversity, and during this holi- day I often reflect on what it means to be Italian-American. Italians have been involved in America's quest for liberty and equality since the country's early days. The Tuscan physi- cian Filippo Mazzei inspired the Declaration of Independence's statement that everyone has fundamental equality. Giuseppe Garibaldi, the hero of Italian independence, was recruited to fight in the Civil War and, though he did not because of his commitment to Italy's free- dom, his name inspired a Union Army regiment comprised of ICHAEL C EMET E RY C RE MATO RY 500 Canterbury Street The Respectful Way,. Boston, MA 02131 617.524.1036 Serving the Italian Community for O~er 1190 Years! f Boston Harborside Home ph A. Langone 580 Commercial St. - Boston, MA 02109 617-536-4110 Augustave M. Sabia, Jr. Trevor Slauenwhite Frederick J. Wobrock Dino C. Manca Courtney A. Fitzgibbons A Service Family Affiliate of AFFS/Service Corporation International 206 Winter SL, Fan River, MA 02720 Telephone 508-676-2454 # soldiers from both Europe and America. The U.S. Capitol dome was painted by an Italian immigrant, Constantino Bru- midi. I believe that America's diversity and blend of cultures is precisely what makes our country so great, and on the Fourth of July I celebrate my pride as both an American and an Italian-American. Along with its history, the Fourth of July is also a revelry in the primordial pleasures of summer, of outdoor festivities, food, fire, and the splash of water. In this way, it resembles European Midsummer celebra- tions, which mark the height of the season around the summer solstice. My family has several Fourth of July traditions which I hold especially dear, all of which epitomize the unbridled joy of summer. On the night of July 3% my husband and I watch a fireworks display put on by our old hometown. As we sit in the stands of the high school football field, we are surrounded by images of vintage Americana: children playing tag across the field, glow sticks waving like little bursts of starlight brought down to Earth, snatches of classic rock tunes, and streaks of color il- luminating the night sky as the crowd hushes with awe. On the Fourth, my family gathers for a festive meal which would not be complete without my two Independence Day mainstays: a Southwestern corn pudding and Zebra Pudding, a delectable dessert consisting of chocolate wafers layered with whipped cream, decorated with chocolate sprinkles, and refrigerated until properly cool and the wafers turn soft. My mother usually makes a panzaneUa salad and, as an appetizer, a dip of salsa and cream cheese served with tortilla chips. We usually have relatives from overseas visiting us during the Fourth of July, and it makes me proud to share this American holiday with them. As we gather for food and fun, we laugh and share nos- talgic and funny stories as the hot summer day descends into a balmy, firefly-filled evening. I will always be thankfld for this day of community, love, pride and food! The Fourth of July grants us an opportunity to pause and reflect on what is most impor- tant in life. As we celebrate the freedoms that make America wonderful, we should pause and honor the sacrifices of the men and women throughout history and the modem day who made these freedoms possible. We should take this holiday as a chance to feel proud to be an American but also proud of our ethnic heritage, which contributes to our unique iden- tifies. Finally, we should see the Fourth of July as a prime feast of summer, and all of the joys that the season entails. With that, I must take the time to wish everyone ... A Happy and Safe Fourth of July! Ally Di Censo Symynkywicz is a Graduate Student in History at the University of Massachu- setts Boston. She appreciates any comments and suggestions about Italian holidays and folk- lore at by Sal Giarratani How Did We Get to Orlando and What Should Be Our Response? When I first heard the news about the Pulse night club in Orlando getting hit by a mass shooter, the first thing to come to mind was a terrorist attack, especially upon hearing it was a gay night club. Can I say I was not at all surprised by the fact that the shooter called the cops proudly announcing he did it in the name of Allah? Most of the lib- eral news media lives in massive denial. As I read a newspaper com- mentary recently in the Dorches- ter Reporter (} written by co-authors of a piece published by the Fenway Insti- tute on Anti-LGBT Legislation on June 16% I felt once again the need to call the Orlando shooting not only a terrorist attack, but also a hate crime (as if terrorist attacks aren't always hateful). Whether Omar Mateen was directed or inspired by the Islamic State is a secondary concern. But the venue, a gay night club, was a perfect target for ISIS, as gays, women, Chris- tians and Jews among others are all satanic to them. If you listened to all the hate- ful gibberish from Mateen's pop, you can see where Some of that hate was inspired. The apple, as they say, doesn't fall far from the tree. Also, I'm not surprised that Mateen reportedly often fre- quented the bar, which is some- what telling. To be Muslim and have same-sex feelings puts a Muslim between a rock and a hard place, excuse the pun. In much of the Muslim world, homosexuality is a capital crime that is often responded to with the throwing of large rocks or a push from a high rooftop. Forty nine American citizens were killed in cold blood and another 53 folks were injured. AU of them caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Is the killer a "Soldier of Is- lam?" Was he directed by ISIS? Was he inspired by his father's horrible views? Was he mentally ill or a cold-blooded sociopath? Was he trying to cleanse himself of what he considered a sexual perversion by bringing death and destruction to a gay venue? Was it some or all of the above? We may never really know why it happened, but surely we can say it was a gay hate crime, can't we? That would be too easy. Without knowing a whole lot, most of this debate and the deadly destruction have few facts behind it. However, what is clear is that the so-called anti-LGBT political activism out there played little role inside the head of Omar Mateen. The only thing appar- ently going on up there was identity confusion and a very strict religious upbringing. He found himself at an intersection of his life that he couldn't navi- gate. He most likely decided to shoot his way out of his misery. Also quite clear is that the lack of stronger gun control measures had little, if any, impact on the night of deadly shootings. All the measures that were voted down on Capitol Hill would not have stopped Mateen from doing what he did. He was legally allowed to own guns and passed all the safeguards along the way. He worked in security for the Florida Department of Corrections, for Pete's sake. He passed everything along the way. Oh, and don't forget he was on the terrorist watch list database for a while before the FBI said game over, you're on your own. No new gun law would have stopped Mateen, just as no cur- rent gun laws did. The Demo- crats are trying to get a handle on all the violence the only way they can, which is by going after legal gun owners rather than the radical, religious-inspired terrorists already. America is a dangerous place today thanks to all the radical Islamists and jihadists out there who believe they are doing the will of Allah. Most American polls show we don't trust our government to protect us. Con- nect the dots, why do you think Donald Trump has been doing so well for so long? His cam- paign speaks to our fears and vulnerability. We are told we shouldn't blame all Muslims for the ac- tions of Omar Mateen. But in the same heartbeat we are told Americans shouldn't own fire- arms because Mateen did. It is time for our politicians in Wash- ington to stop playing games like sit-ins and just do their jobs protecting all of us from the threats of Islamic terrorists looking for their next targets. It is also time for sensible gun restrictions. But the Second Amendment stays because it is in the Bill of Rights as one of those items government can never take away from us, like free speech. Matt6o Gallo Appraisals Sales & Rentals Real Estate 376 North Street Boston, MA 02113 (617) 523-2100 Fax (617) 523-3530