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Capuano's Statement on the House Floor in Celebration of Italian-American Heritage Month

[Congressman Michael E. Capuano's Remarks as they appeared in the Congressional Record on Thursday, October 28, 1999 on Page E2220. Click here to view text of legislation.]

October 28, 1999

"Mr. Speaker,"

"I rise today to recognize and celebrate a distinct and important group in this country -- Italian-Americans. Earlier this month, the Massachusetts State Legislature passed a law observing the month of October as Italian-American Heritage Month. This law recognizes the countless contributions bestowed on our country's rich national heritage by Italian-Americans. Today, I'm introducing a resolution that supports the goals and ideas of Italian-American Heritage Month nationwide."

"Over the past 200 years, 5.4 million Italians have immigrated to the United States. Today more than 26 million Americans are of Italian descent, 72,000 alone reside in the Eighth District of Massachusetts. As this country's fifth largest ethnic group, Italian-Americans have brought to our communities a tireless work ethic, a strong sense of family cohesion, and an artistically rich culture. This unique and profound impact of Italian culture has become an integral part of the American way of life. In fact, many Italian-Americans have gone on to become prominent in our Nation's academic, industrial, entertainment, and political fields."

"Nearly every American has experienced the unique contributions of Italian-Americans. Famous Italian-Americans like hall of fame baseball player Joe DiMaggio, world-renowned composer Henry Mancini, singer and songwriter Frank Sinatra, and Oscar winner Robert DeNiro have provided all Americans with many forms of entertainment. Millions of Americans have experienced the brilliance of Constantine Brumidi, an Italian immigrant, who was the artistic prodigy behind the elaborate paintings in the United States Capitol. Other Italian-Americans have enriched our political process, including political figures such as Fiorella La Guardia, both mayor and Congressman from New York City, Anthony Celebrezze, who served during John F. Kennedy's administration and was the first Italian-American Cabinet member, and Antonin Scalia, who is the first Italian-American appointed to the Supreme Court."

"I invite every Member to join me in celebrating the tremendous impact Italian-Americans have made to our Nation and our national identity."