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Gazette and Bulletin: October 13, 1939 – Absence of Flags Stirs Sons of Italy Speakers to Columbus Day Dinner

Speakers on the Columbus Day program last night at the local Sons of Italy Lodge voiced their criticism of Williamsport residents who fail to display American flags on the birthday anniversary of Christopher Columbus. Nearly 200 Italian-American persons attended the celebration and heard several outstanding addresses, which stressed the need for a more patriotic celebration

Speakers on the Columbus Day program last night at the local Sons of Italy Lodge voiced their criticism of Williamsport residents who fail to display American flags on the birthday anniversary of Christopher Columbus. Nearly 200 Italian-American persons attended the celebration and heard several outstanding addresses, which stressed the need for a more patriotic celebration in future years.

America Vannucci, one of the oldest members of the lodge, began the discussion when he said that yesterday morning he saw “only one flag displayed in the downtown business section. Mayor Charles D. Wolfe, another speaker, pointed out he saw none and immediately had the flag raised over City Hall.

As an outgrowth of the discussion it was announced efforts would be made to stage a large Columbus Day banquet next year for all Italian-American organizations of the city.

Guest speaker was the Rev. Alphonse Manley, pastor of the Mater Dolorosa Church, who pictured Columbus as a God fearing man and a Christian. He explained that America will always be a Christian nation and will lead the world in peace and happiness.

Joseph Lecce spoke on “Americanism” and Michael Maggio put emphasis on the fact that Columbus Day is celebrated by the people as a whole, not just Italians. He urged Williamsport to cooperate with the Italians in the future.

Other speakers introduced by Toastmaster Gene Miele included, Phillip Rotondi, president of the lodge, A. Formica, president of the Marconi Society, and Louis Mazzante of the Dante Aligheri Society. Mr. Miele was presented by Joseph Barone, secretary, who served as chairman of arrangements.

Compiled by Lou Hunsinger Jr.

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