I Am An Italian American

Dear Editor:

I am an Italian American.

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My roots are deep in an ancient soil, drenched by the Mediterranean sun and watered by pure streams from snowcapped mountains.

I am enriched by thousands of years of culture. My hands are those of the mason, the artist, and the man of the soil.

My thoughts, feelings, emotions, and passions have been recorded in the annals of Rome, the poetry of Virgil, the writings of Dante, the creations of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, and the philosophy of Benedetto Croce.

I am an Italian American, and from my ancient world, I first spanned the seas to the New World. I am Cristoforo Colombo. I am Giovanni Cabato, known in American history as John Cabot, discoverer of the mainland of North America. I am Giovanni da Verrazzano, the first European to explore the Atlantic coast of North America between Florida and New Brunswick, including New York Bay and Narragansett Bay. I am Amerigo Vespucci; I gave my name to the New World, America.

First to sail on the Great Lakes in 1679, founder of the territory that became the state of Illinois, colonizer of Louisiana and Arkansas, I am Enrico Tonti.

I am Philippo 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 the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan; I am Colonel Francesco Vigo.

I mapped the Pacific Ocean from Mexico to Alaska and to the Philippines. I am Alessando Malaspina. I am Giacomo Beltrami, discoverer of the source of the Mississippi River in 1823.

I created the Dome of the United States Capital; they called me the Michelangelo of America, I am Constantino Brumidi. I am Archimedes Aristedes Michael Giacomantonio, born in Downtown Jersey City, and I sculpted the Columbus statues at Journal Square and at Hoboken’s Columbus Park, the Lincoln the Rail-Splitter and the Wounded Soldier statues at Lincoln High School, and the Jersey City Police Memorial by Jersey City’s City Hall.

In 1904, I founded in San Francisco, the Bank of Italy now known as the Bank of America, the largest financial institution in the world; I am A.P. Giannini.

I am Enrico Fermi, the father of nuclear science in America.
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 am the million strong who served in America’s armies and the tens of thousands whose names are enshrined in military cemeteries from Guadalcanal to the Rhine. I am the educator, the scientist, the jurist, the artisan; the singer, musician, and entertainer, and I am the political leader and government official. I am the steel worker in Pittsburgh, the grower in the Imperial Valley of California, the parish priest, the local businessperson, the textile designer in Manhattan, the movie maker in Hollywood, and the homemaker and the breadwinner in thousands of communities throughout America.

I am an American without reservation, loving this land as only one who understands its history, its agonies, and its triumphs can love it and serve it.

I shall not be told that my contribution is any less significant than any other American. Nor shall I accept that my role is not as worthy as that of any other American.

I shall stand in support of this nation’s endearing and enduring values against all foes.

My heritage has dedicated me to this nation.

I am proud of my Italian culture, heritage, and legacy, and I shall remain worthy of it.

I am an Italian American forever.

Editor’s Note: “I am an Italian American” was written by Angelo Bianchi, Esq., 1982, a former President of the Order Sons of Italy in America.

John Di Genio

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