NIAF News Monthly

<< View Previous Issue | Next Issue >>

July/August 2006

A monthly bulletin for Italian American organizations and media outlets, dedicated to promoting the language, culture and traditions of Italians and Italian Americans.

NIAF News Monthly

Spotlight on an Italian American Soldier
When LTG Raymond Odierno received the NIAF Special Achievement Award for Military Service at the Foundation’s East Coast Gala on April 18, his son, Captain Anthony K. Odierno, and wife, Linda, were in the audience applauding. But the family had far more to celebrate – both father and son have returned home after serving in Iraq and son Anthony has successfully finished rehabilitation after losing an arm to a rocket-propelled grenade.

Captain Anthony K. Odierno graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering and was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. of Infantry. His first assignment on active duty following completion of the Infantry Officer Basic Course (IOBC) was to Fort Hood, Texas. There he was assigned to the 1st Squadron 7th Calvary, 1st Calvary Division where he served as a Scout Platoon Leader and then as a Support Platoon Leader.

In March 2004, Capt. Odierno was deployed on Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was wounded in combat in late August of that year and evacuated to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he continued rehabilitation until August 2005. He was promoted to Captain on Nov. 1, 2004 and is currently serving as Aide-de-Camp to Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He is a graduate of the Army Airborne and Ranger schools, has been awarded the Expert Infantryman’s badge, Combat Infantryman’s badge, Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medal for Valor. Look for an interview with Captain Odierno will appear in the Fall 2006 issue of Ambassador magazine.

NIAF News MonthlyFrom the Stage to the Screen
Actor Anthony LaPaglia was born in Adelaide, Australia, to an Italian father and Dutch mother. Once inspired to become an actor, LaPaglia traveled to New York City to work in the theater. When acting on stage left him wanting more, he continued on to Los Angeles, Calif., to pursue bigger dreams. There, he became an accomplished on-screen actor.

In 2002, LaPaglia shared the spotlight with actress Sigourney Weaver in “The Guys,” a film about a New York City fire captain who lost eight men in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. The film was adapted from a play by Anne Nelson.

Many people recognize him as FBI agent Jack Malone on the television series “Without a Trace” and for his guest-comedic work as Simon Moon on “Frasier.” He has won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for two Emmy Awards. LaPaglia is currently in his fourth season of “Without a Trace” and plans to be on the set as Jack Malone for the next several years.

Web Sites to Explore
Do you want to practice Italian on a regular basis? Are you interested in the Italian culture and would you like to make some new friends? Meetup is a great way to meet people interested in a common subject. There are 61 meetup groups on “Italian Language” around the world! Visit for more information.

  • Please bookmark the NIAF website, as one of your favorites! It is your Internet portal to the best of the Foundation, the United States and Italy.
  • NIAF News Monthly San Gennaro Italian Festival of Alexandria
    The First Annual San Gennaro Italian Festival of Alexandria, Va., will be held in the city’s Oronoco Park on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2006. It is sponsored by the San Gennaro Foundation of Virginia, a not-for-profit community organization.

    Annual San Gennaro Italian festivals celebrate the patron saint of Naples, Italy, and are held in many cities across the United States. The first such festival was held in New York City on Sept. 19, 1926, when newly arrived immigrants from Naples who settled in the Little Italy decided to continue the tradition, which their ancestors had followed since 305 A.D.

    This year’s festival in Alexandria will begin with a traditional procession featuring the Statue of San Gennaro, which will travel the streets of Alexandria from St. Mary’s Church to the Waterfront Park. Many area Italian businesses will offer Italian specialty foods and pastries. Additionally, vendors will sell a variety of goods including international foods, souvenir items, and merchandise. There will also be entertainment for the children, Italian cultural activities, and a traditional bocce ball tournament. Contact: Jay DeCianno at 703/492-3329

    Now You Know
    Roots in the Boot – An Italian American Family History and Culture Conference will take place on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh on July 14 and 15, 2006. Fourteen well-known speakers will be discussing tracing your roots and genealogist Dr. John Phillip Colleta will deliver the keynote address. Registration forms and further information can be found at


    Please send your group or city’s news on Italian American exhibits, cultural events, scholarships and special events to: Elissa Ruffino, the NIAF, 1860 19th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009. Or write her on the internet, e-mail address:

    N.B. Events/programs noted are not necessarily endorsed or sponsored by NIAF.

    The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC and dedicated to preserving the heritage of Italian Americans.

    Follow NIAF on Facebook! Follow NIAF on Twitter! Check out NIAF on YouTube!


    Find out more!