Italian-Americans have a proud history of military service. In World War I, about 12% of the US Army was composed of Italian immigrants as well as their American-born counterparts, in World War II, more than 500,000 Italian-Americans were in the service. Italian-Americans have also fought in the Korean War, in Vietnam, in Desert Storm, and wherever and whenever America defended the cause of freedom and justice. Those Italian-Americans who exhibited extraordinary courage and heroism were awarded the Medal of Honor. The Medal of Honor exhibit not only honors those heroes who were killed in action, but all Italian-American men and women who served and are still serving their country with honor and distinction.
Italian-Americans have a proud
history of military service. In World War I,
about 12% of the US Army was composed of Italian
immigrants as well as their American-born
counterparts, in World War II, more than 500,000
Italian-Americans were in the service.
Italian-Americans have also fought in the Korean
The Medal of Honor exhibit was
researched and developed by the CSJ (Commission
for Social Justice).
It was the brainchild of the late John
Debbene, Past President of the NYS CSJ, CSJ
National President Emeritus and Past Director of
the Order Sons of Italy’s
One of the most difficult aspects of the research was the reproduction of the photographs of the Medal of Honor recipients (did not exist, were lost, poor quality, were not military representations). Therefore, it was decided that an artist sketch of the recipients in lieu of a photo would lend consistency to the exhibit.
The Medal of Honor display has
been shown in numerous venues including
libraries, universities, court houses, VA
hospitals, and the
The Medal of Honor is the highest
military award for bravery that can be given to
any individual in the
As Americans of Italian descent, we are indeed proud of the Medal of Honor recipients displayed here today. If you have not already done so, please take the time to read the citations of these recipients who have demonstrated remarkable heroism. As American citizens we remember and honor all Medal of Honor Recipients who fought to turn the tide of battle and inspired our forces to victory in specific combat situations. And, of course, we can never forget the courage, fortitude, and obedience to duty displayed by all the men and women in the armed forces who fought and still fight bravely to protect our freedom and common values. And as Memorial Day approaches, their service and sacrifice becomes even more vivid in our consciousness and in our hearts as we remember them.
We pause at this time to recognize our POWs and MIAs, who are unable to be with their loved ones and families. Several of our veterans have volunteered to assist with this tribute as we join together and bear witness to their continued absence.
The TABLE is small and set for
one, symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner,
alone against his or her suppressors.
The program ends with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Medal of Honor Recipients||
POW MIA Table|
|Medal of Honor recipients are featured in memorial posters which are on display at special Commission for Social Justice exhibitions. Medal of Honor recipients are commemorated in a memorial booklet which is also be available at the exhibit. A poster commemorating all 26 Italian-American recipients of the Medal of Honor is also available. Memorabilia such as photographs, medals, flags, etc., are available for viewing at these special exhibitions.|
View a promotion for the CSJ video Italian American Recipients of the Medal of Honor
For further information, please contact the New York Chairman of the Commission for Social Justice, Order Sons of Italy in America at the New York Grand Lodge Office at (516) 785-4623 or (800) 322-OSIA or via e-mail at Chairman@nyscsj.org .