Presented on 4 July 2011
- I wish everyone a happy and safe 4th of July weekend. Following is a speech I gave when I was first elected to the Westfield Town Council. It is a real honor and privilege for me to be here. My wife and I love the Town of Westfield and we are grateful to live and raise our family in such a great community and proud to call Westfield our home.
Every year on the 4th of July, I am reminded of what it means to be an American. It all began for my family in the early 1900’s when 4 of my Grandparents left Southern Italy to come to America. I often think what it was like for them to leave their homeland and come to a new country. How difficult it must have been for them not knowing the English language and customs. My dad would always tell a story how he was about 9 years old and a telegram came to the house. His mother (My Grandmother) opened it and started to cry. She learned that her mother in Italy had died. I can only imagine how difficult that must have been for her to have left Italy at such a young age and never be able to see her parents again.
Like many Americans, I recall some of my fondest childhood memories celebrating the Fourth of July, watching fireworks, going to parades, and having barbeques. I think of my father, who passed in 1997, who showed his patriotism as a World War II Navy Veteran. My father was drafted at the end of the war in 1944, and joined his three brothers as members of the US military.
Now that I have children of my own, I often think how hard it must have been for my grandparents to have 4 sons fighting for our country’s honor at the same time. I thank my father, my uncles and all those who have fought, died and continue to fight to preserve this country’s honor for their sacrifices, their patriotism and their love of country. Again, I reflect on the 4th of July, I think about our founding fathers and members of the Continental Congress who worked so tirelessly to take the necessary steps to declare independence back in 1776.
It was the combined efforts of many determined individuals to create a vision for what this country could be. As so eloquently written by Thomas Pain in Common Sense “these are the times that try men’s souls”. I acknowledge their hard work, their determination, their fortitude and their vision to have one nation and one people living in a country without dictatorship or monarchy.
Looking around today, I see not one people, I see many people…people of different races, people of different ethnic groups and people of different religions that join together to celebrate a land where democracy prevails, where it is the job of our leaders in government to maintain and uphold the rights outlined in our Constitution, that supports fair and equal justice for all.
I am proud to be American for so many reasons, for the rights and freedoms outlined in our Constitution, for my father and all those who have served and currently serve in the US military, and for a country that continues to work to preserve freedom and democracy here and around the world.
I would like to thank the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution who work to maintain the ideals of the war for independence, to spread patriotism, to respect and value what it means to be an American. I wish for all of you a safe, healthy and happy summer and may God continue to Bless this great country, America.
Thank you again and have a pleasant evening.