Italian American Collection Highlight WWII-era Easter Card

Mar 30, 2017 1061

BY: Melissa Marinaro

A few years after immigrating to the United States, Vincent Sirianni of Bellevue, Pa. was drafted into the U.S. Army. After he completed his military training at Camp Wheeler, Georgia, he was sent overseas to North Africa. Sirianni eventually moved up to Naples, Italy and became a staff member with the Headquarters Company 2nd Reinforcement Depot. While in Naples, he was able to travel to Calabria to visit his grandmother still living in Italy.

Sirianni recounted in his oral history housed the History Center's Detre Library & Archives: "What happened was that we heard we were going to leave Italy and go invade Southern France. Here I had my grandmother who was still living and her dying wish was to see me before she died. So I told my colonel, 'Colonel, I have a grandmother not too far from here, can you let me go for a few days to see her before she dies or before we leave?'"

Sirianni's Colonel approved his temporary leave and he journeyed south to see his family. After navigating bombed railroads and using his Italian language skill to communicate with Italian soldiers, he finally reached his hometown of Gizzeria. He described his homecoming: "Here when we got to the piazza here was one of my uncles who had raised me for ten years he was there so he gave me a big hug and he was in tears and he took me down to grandma. Naturally, she was thrilled before she got to see me. So I thought that was a mission accomplished."

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SOURCE: Senator John Heinz History Center

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