By Barbara Ann Zippi
Focusing on a community of Italian-American military veterans, the Delaware County Veterans Memorial in Newtown Square paid respects over Columbus Day Weekend by presenting the Inaugural Flying of Eleven Veteran Casket Flags of Fizzano Family Veterans.
DCVMA Master of Ceremonies and Silver Star Vietnam veteran Dennis Murphy remarked how he now understands the phase in Delaware County, “everyone knows a Fizzano.”
This Italian-American family, with roots in Ridley Township, turned out in full. Almost 300 gathered, joined by the Warrior Watch Riders, DCVMA board members and the community in honoring all these men. The Fizzano family military history covers, World War II, Korea, The European Theater, Pearl Harbor and Vietnam. Of special note, Nicky Fizzano’s service history included being held captive as a POW in World War II. Today, the family is proud to say, there are Fizzanos currently serving in various branches of the armed services.
Imagine, two Italian young brothers arriving in the United States in the early 1900s, settling in Ridley Township and making a living with their hands. They built a family dynasty of patriotism protecting their new homeland. How easily we sometimes forget that Italian immigrants in the United States in the early 1900s, even as newly minted citizens, were not welcomed into the American society. Today, as mainstream Americans of Italian heritage, this family continues its love of country while respecting and loving its ancestral one.
The casket flags flying over the Veterans Memorial honored these people:
- Thomas W. Fizzano U.S. Army Air Corps, World War II, staff sergeant, Pacific Theatre, New Guinea.
- John T. Fizzano Sr., U.S. Army Air Corps, World War II, staff sergeant, European Theatre.
- Nicky Fizzano, U.S. Army Air Corps, World War II POW, sergeant, European Theatre.
- Rocky Fizzano, U.S. Army, World War II, corporal, Pacific Theatre.
- Pete Fizzano, U.S. Army, Korean War era, corporal, served stateside.
- Joseph “Champ” Fizzano, U.S. Army, Korean War era, sergeant, served in Germany.
- Tony Fizzano Jr., U.S. Army, Vietnam, 1st lieutenant, past president of Delco Veterans Memorial.
- Pete Black, U.S. Army Air Corps, World War II and Korean War, sergeant, married to a Fizzano.
- Jim Duffy, U.S. Army, Vietnam era, Spec. 4, served stateside, mother was a Fizzano.
- Jim Butler, U.S. Navy, Vietnam era, petty officer, Southeast Pacific, mother-in-law a Fizzano.
- Mike Iannelli, U.S. Navy, Vietnam War, seaman, married to a Fizzano.