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Sons of Italy® Places Italian Flag on New York's "Wall Street" Christmas Tree

Press Contact: Kylie Cafiero, (202) 547-2900 kcafiero@osia.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. - December 16, 2004 ­ For the first time in its history, the traditional Bowling Green Christmas tree in New York's Financial District is flying the Italian flag. The Order Sons of Italy in America® (OSIA) took part in the December 13 lighting ceremony to honor Italian Americans across the country and the coming of OSIA's 100th anniversary on June 22, 2005.

Joseph Sciame, OSIA's national president, rode a lift to the top of the 65-foot tree where he placed the Italian flag. "It is an honor to be a part of this unprecedented event. OSIA and all Italian Americans will be proud to see the flag of our ancestors waving atop such an important New York City Christmas landmark."

This is the third year a flag rather than a star has topped the Bowling Green tree. In 2001, an American flag flew honoring those lost on September 11 and, in 2002, the New York City flag was placed in celebration of the city's 350th anniversary.

Also attending the event was Italian American sculptor Arturo DiModica. His masterpiece, the 3 1/2 ton bronze statue,"Raging Bull" is directly in front of the Bowling Green tree and is celebrating its 15th anniversary at this location.

The lighting ceremony was made possible through the support of private donations and the leadership of Frank Sciame, president of Frank J. Sciame Construction, Joseph Sciame's cousin.

OSIA is the largest and oldest national organization for men and women of Italian heritage in the United States. It has more than 600,000 members and supporters and a network of more than 700 chapters coast to coast. OSIA works at the community, national and international levels to promote the heritage and culture of an estimated 26 million Italian Americans, the nation's fifth largest ethnic group, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.