Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Columbus Day! Felice Columbus Day, Viva l'America! Columbia the Gem of the Ocean

This is a photo of an Italian America couple who scratched, fought and saved for the America we all take for granted at best and at worst scorn. This man and his beautiful wife worked in Chicago's lumberyards along the Chicago river and when unemployed worked the Illinois bean fields. Jane Addams and her girlfriends put on presentations of Sophocles at Hull House, in order to help them out.

I read a couple of snarky scribbles about Columbus Day by Chicago and national media types. The usual stuff. Genocide, White Supremacy, Religion bashing, a few nods to the trust fund babies spending a few weeks in Eddie Bauer and Abercrombie and Fitch tents playing Occupy America.

Today, Italian Americans celebrate America. Pietro Ceasari Alberti, a Venetian sailor is recorded to be the first Italian to settle in New York in 1635, a few years after Giovanni Verranzzano mapped New York Bay.

Thomas Jefferson established the oldest military band - The President's Own U.S. Marine Corps Band in 1798 staffed largely by Italian musicians.

Italian-American women, like our first American Saint Mother Cabrini, get ignored in favor of Jane Addams, Eugenics Abortionist Margaret Sanger, or Gloria Steinem.

Contributions of Italian Americans are largely ignored, as are those of most assimilated ethnic groups. Example how many high school kids learn of Enrico Fermi, as oppossed to Robert Oppenheimer? Oppie hated the bomb and became a darling Progressive icon.

Chicago's Mario 'Motts' Tonelli was a pro football rookie, Notre Dame All-American from Chicago who out his country before his career, went into the Army, to the Phillipines just before Japan decided to celebrate diversity world wide. Motts survived Bataan, the Death March, Coffin Ships, Genuine Grassroots Torture and Starvation. He returned to Columbia - a euphemism for America, the land discovered by Christopher Columbus, a Genovese sailor and devout Roman Catholic.

Columbia, The Gem of the Ocean!

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