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July 26, 2013

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i POST-GAZETTE, JULY 26, 2013 Page13 by John Christoforo Sanna qJabbb zonno A Nostalgic Remembrance Saturday the 27th is the anniversary of the end of the Korean War. August 7th is Purple Heart Day and on August 14th, Japan surren- dered to end WWII. I met a cousin the other day and over coffee, we talked about the family. The men in our fam- ily have been involved in all the wars since the Spanish American in 1898. That's just two years after the first relative arrived in America. Both sides of the family have been flag wavers ever since that point in time. If this sounds corny, then let it be so, but being an American to all sides of my family has been extremely important if for no more of a reason than personal satisfaction. I men- tion all this be-cause we are still hyphenated ... Italian- American. It makes me think we are in limbo some- where not quite in Heaven according to what the nuns told us when I was a kid. When people ask me what I am, I often say, "Writer, musician, actor and educa- tor." The next question is usually, "No, where are you from?" My answer is always, "Boston." And then I'm asked, "No, what I meant is, where are your people from?" Again, I reply, "Boston." Of course, when they ask what country the family originated in, I have to play into their hands and say, "Italy." Before I walk away, the comment is usually, "Oh, you're Ital- ian-American," with a verbal hyphen in between. If we have to be hyphen- ated, then let me quote the words of an attorney named Angelo Bianchi, Esq. A while back he wrote a narrative called, "I Am An Italian- American." It begins with, "I am an Italian-American. My roots are deep in an ancient soil, drenched by the Mediterra- nean sun and watered by pure streams from snow capped mountains. I am enriched by thou- sands of years of culture. My hands are those of the mason, the artist, the man of the soil. My thoughts have been recorded in the annals of Rome, the poetry of Virgil, the creations of Dante and the philosophy of Benedetto Croce. I am an Italian-Ameri- can and from my ancient world, I first spanned the seas of the new world. I am Cristoforo Colombo. I am Giovanni Caboto, known in American history as John Cabot, discoverer of the mainland of North America. I am Amerigo Vespucci, who lent his name to the new world, America. First to sail on the Great Lakes in 1697, founder of the territory that became the State of Illinois, colonizer of Louisiana and Arkansas, I am Enrico Tonti. I am Filippo Mazzei, friend of Thomas Jefferson and my thesis on the equality of man was written into the Bill of Rights. I am William Paca signer of the Declaration of Independence. I am an Italian-American. I financed the Northwest Expedition of George Rogers Clark and accompanied him through the lands that would become Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wis- consin and Michigan, I am Colonel Francesco Vigo. I mapped the Pacific from Mexico to Alaska and to the Philippines, I am Alessandro Malaspina. I am Giacomo Beltrami, discoverer of the source of the Mississippi River in 1823. I created the Dome of the United States Capitol. They called me the Michel- angelo of America ... I am Constantino Brumidi. In 1904, I founded in San Francisco the Bank of Italy, now known as the Bank of America, one of the largest financial institutions in the world and am the originator of strip mall banking, I am Amadeo Peter Giannini. I am Enrico Fermi, father of nuclear science in America. I am the first enlisted man to win the Medal of Honor in World War II, I am John Basilone of New Jersey. I am an Italian-American. I represent the millions who served in America's military services and the tens of thousands whose names are enshrined in military cem- eteries from Guadalcanal to the Rhine just from World War II alone. I am the steel maker in Pittsburgh, the grower in the Imperial Valley of California, the fashion designer in Man- hattan, the movie maker in Hollywood the home maker and the breadwinner in 10,000 communities all over the United States. I am an American without stint or reservation, loving this land as only one who understands history, its ago- nies and its triumphs can love it and serve it. I will not be told that my contribution is any less nor my role not as worthy as that of any other American. I will stand in support of this nation's freedom and promise against all foes. My heritage has dedicated me to this nation. I am proud of my full heritage and I shall remain worthy of it. I am an Italian-American." When I read this docu- ment, it makes me proud of who I am and those of my family who came before me. The one change I would like to make for posterity is to remove the hyphen between Italian and American. In other words, my grandfather was Italian, my father was Italian American, I am American Italian and my sons are American. It has taken several generations to remove the hyphen, but as far as I'm concerned, it's gone. I recently had a conversa- tion with a couple of people who are gun shy when it comes to new-comers from other countries. When our people came here, they were mostly European. Today's immigrants are from other parts of the world, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. Many look down on these folks due to the physical differences between them and our folks of European origins. My com- ment is, "Give them a chance before we stereotype them into negative catego- ries. If they mean well and want the American dream, let's help them out. If they are looking for trouble, then let's make that dream be- come a nightmare. We've worked too hard to let things fall apart. We learned from the people who preceded us and laid down the ground rules for what became America. We have a lot to be proud of with just two major blemishes on our record, sla- very and the disposition of the Native American." When I mention these things, some of those who are gun shy agree with me, others don't. Let's see what the fu- ture brings without the hy- phen. GOD BLESS AMERICA Happy Anniversary JOSEPH FUNERAL HOME, INC. 8t4 American Legion Highway, Roslindale, MA 617-3z5-73oo Thinking Out Loud (Continued from Page 4) jury made a verdict and we must live with it. I remem- ber back during the O.J. trial, I thought the jury did nullification with that ver- dict. Race was thrown into the trial as if it had anything to do with the murder. I saw no justice for his wife while many Black friends of mine thought O.J. was just inno- cent. However, I believe in our justice system. It isn't perfect but simply all we got. The jury spoke and that was that. Justice did not fail Trayvon Martin. The system worked. The rule of law and not mob rule won the day. I find things outrageous when Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson and NAACP Presi- dent Ben Jealous appear to be fanning the flames like racial arsonists trying to seemingly politicalize the tragedy for their own ends. I understand why there is anger out there but George Zimmerman is not the face of the second coming of the KKK. He has to live with the knowledge that his actions eventually led to a confron- tation that left a 17-yea-old dead on the ground with his Skittles and Arizona ice tea next to his body. Does any- one really think that was what Zimmerman wanted to see happen? Americans are decent people for the most part. We have gotten better with age and time. In the end, most of us know that what binds us all together is far stron- ger than what divides us. We cannot let the death of Tray- von Martin go unnoticed. Nor can we simply call Zimmer- man a racist murderer. We cannot let those who bait us with racial hostility win out the day. We need to move forward together and learn from this tragedy and prevent further such tragedies. I.'Anno Bello (Continued from Page 4) has declined in the popular imagination. A holiday like Lammas can provide us with the symbolic background to look for the harvests in our lives. What transitions are we facing? From what goals would we like to reap ben- efits? How do we plan ahead for the future while still enjoying the present? With its overtones of the approach- ing autumn, Lammas helps us answer questions like these, while also teaching us to become closer with the rhythms of our mother Earth. Now, whenever Lammas looms on the calendar, I always think back to my enchanted summer in Italy, and how the magic of the Earth and the cadence of the seasons, emanated from all around me. By paying atten- tion to the little holidays and reasons to celebrate we so often ignore, we can recap- ture that magic wherever we are. Ally Di Censo Symynkywicz is a Graduate Student in History at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She appreciates any comments and suggestions about Italian holidays and folk- lore at Happy 118th Anniversary tothe EAST BOSTON LOCATION I%W, ODY LOCATION 111 Chelsea Street, East Boston 71 Newbury St (Route 1) Peabody 617 - 567-9871 978-535-1811 www.santarpiospizza, com Best Wishes from ~mici 111 q, lorth Washingwn Street Boswn, qqorth End, (Massachusetts 612".742.2998 #racy Costa andynn Bova GIFT CERTIFICATES AVAILABLE ~raat [ood and ~piri~ in the HiaorM d(or~ [nd 87 Prince Street - Boston, North End - 617.523.8997 Mawann and Richie Longo