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OSIA National President Enjoins All for Italian Culture Month

Press Contact: Kylie Cafiero, (202) 547-2900


Sons of Italy® News Bureau

New York - October 1, 2003 - Joseph Sciame, national president of the Order Sons of Italy in America®, has asked that its 700 local lodges and the 30 grand and subordinate lodges prepare to celebrate accordingly for Il Mese di Cultura Italiana or Italian Culture Month 2003, as well as for the ensuing days surrounding Columbus Day, October 13, 2003.

Annually, the OSIA, the oldest and most geographically representative group of Italian Americans in the United States, among the 26 million who can trace their heritage to Italy, celebrates Columbus Day in special ways at the local and state level. In the city of New York the grandest of parades is held along Fifth Avenue and members of the New York State Grand Lodge will be led by its state president, Joseph DiTrapani, where designer Roberto Cavelli is the Grand Marshal. In Philadelphia, state president William Bucci will be leading the sisters and brothers from various lodges as well as welcoming singer Michael Amante as the Grand Marshal to that parade.

Other cities where parades will occur include: Denver, CO; Los Angeles and San Francisco; Chicago, IL, and perhaps hundreds of other hamlets, villages and cities. With several hundred monuments dedicated to Columbus in this country, wreaths will be placed at sites and comments extended about the famed Columbus. Born in Genoa, Italy, Columbus flew under the Spanish flag in what was the first discovery of the Americas. In commenting about the events of 1492, Sciame stated: "While many have attempted to minimize Columbus' discovery, he was the one to return to the European continent to relate what he saw and found. He was a discoverer!"

Many cities and locations, schools and colleges included, are preparing for what is the Il Mese di Cultura Italiana, where lectures, symposia, concerts, festivals and operas are held, all in an effort at promoting Italian heritage and culture. In the city of New York, a twenty seven year old committee, called the Italian Heritage & Culture Month Committee of NYC, has single-handedly coordinated events which have brought about celebrations at all levels of city and state government with proclamations and festivities from the office of governor to the local mayors.

In advancing the cause of Columbus Day celebrations, Sciame reminded all presidents and lodges of the long timed tradition of the OSIA, founded in 1905, by stating: "all presidents and lodges need to turn their attention to October and the keen opportunity to celebrate Columbus Day, our heritage, language and culture. In fact, in many a community today, the local lodges are sponsoring dinner salutes and festive occasions to recognize the importance of the Discovery of America and its founder, Columbus."