Our Veterans

An important part of the Taylor Street Archive is devoted to our Veterans, those Italian Americans who served with distinction in defense of America. Following is some background information, as well as stories and photographs.The Greatest Generation:  Since the focus of the Taylor Street Archives (TSA) is on the immigrants who settled in Chicago’s Little Italy during the turn of the 20th century, and their offspring who were born in America, we will concentrate on our Veterans from World War II.  That group of warriors that had come to be known as “The Greatest Generation.” It has been estimated that more than 400,000 Italian Americans served in World War II. (More than any other ethnioc group.) There were thousands upon thousands of first generation Italian American warriors who sacrificed life, limb and beyond for their country. Many of them made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, while many more suffered serious wounds. Thousands of Gold Stars, signifying the death of a warrior, hung from the windows in all of the Little Italy’s scattered throughout America. Through the long years of World War II, family members left behind were fearful of every knock on their door or the approach of a stranger in uniform. 

The 257 Banner:  Bowen Country Club (BCC), the Jane Addams’ Hull House Summer camp, had 257 known alumni serving in World War II. A simple banner, with the number 257, honoring their contribution, hung in the dining hall at the BCC. Their names and their letters to each other via the newsletter, “Chain Around the World” are listed in the chronicles of BCC housed in a cabin on the former BCC site now owned and managed by the Waukegan Illinois Park District. Those BCC family members, decades later, were recognized, and rightfully so, as part of the Greatest Generation. Copies of the Chain Around the World letters are included in this, the “Our Veterans” page of the Taylor Street Archives. The BCC Newsletter posted in the Bowen Country Club page of the Taylor Street Archives contains articles referencing some of the BCC alumni that served in WWII and participated in the Chain Around the World newsletter..

We had our share of the BCC alumni that did not return. Many came back with serious injuries. Of those BCC alumni that Vince Romano came to know, Mike Garippo died during the invasion of Germany in 1945; George Corvino spent much of his remaining years face down on a cot; and Shorty Ray, blinded in the European campaign, was a regular visitor to the BCC. He was a constant reminder of what it took to be a member of that Greatest Generation. Vito Favia, whose obituary,follows below, was killed in Iwo Jima. He was awarded, posthumously, the Silver Star. Vito lived on Peoria Street, just three doors from the editor.

Vito Favia, A Fallen Warrior Vito Favia, a son of Chicago’s Little Italy, served in the Marine Corps as a Sargeant. He died at 22 years of age during the invasion of Iwo Jima on March 10, 1945. Vito was born to Michael and Mary Favia, and was one of four siblings. He grew up on Peoria Street, in the Hull House neighborhood. Vito graduated from Holy Guardian Angel Grammar School and St. Ignatius High School. Vito was active in many neighborhood organizations. While growing up, he attended Hull House and the Bowen Country Club summer camp. He was also active in the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO). Vito was inducted into the Marine Corps in 1942. After basic training, he joined the 4th Raider Battalion as a demolition expert. He saw action on Guadalcanal, Bouganville, Munda, Tinina Island and Guam. On Iwo Jima, he volunteered for a special patrol to destroy a Japanese bunker that was stopping forward troop movement. He was hit by enemy fire and although seriously wounded, Vito was successful in placing a demoliton charge that destroyed the Japanese bunker. Vito died from his wounds on March 10, 1945. On March 29, 1945, his parents received the Western Union telegram announcing his death. During his years of service to America, Vito received numerous awards. They included the Purple Heart and the Silver Star, which was awarded posthumously. Many letters of condolences were received by Mr. and Mrs. Favia. Most poi, including one from President Roosevelt.

Alistaire Cooke: A date that will live in infamy On December 7, 2007 – the Anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack. Vince contributed a paper as his contribution to the discussion that took place at the Italian Cultural Center in Stone Park, Illinois. The discussion was about the experience of Chicago Italians during World War II and the aftermath experienced by our Veterans upon their return home. Vince’s contribution made note of Alistaire Cooke’s TV series “America.” Specifically, that segment titled, “America: The Immigrants.” Vince questions why Mr. Cooke decided to overlook the likes of a Vito Favia, or John Basilone (the only enlisted man in WWII to win both the Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross, the two highest awards given by this country for valor under fire) or an Enrico Fermi, or countless others, when he chose who to depict as being representative of the contributions made by Italian Americans. Every Italian American in every neighborhood was maligned when Alistair Cooke deduced, in his nationally televised program, that Alphonse Capone was representative of the contributions made by the Italian American. (See OUR STORIES > OUR VETERANS for the full presentation.)

Chain Around the World Letter: by Mrs. Bowen Intro

BCC WWII Veterans’ Chain Around the World Letter Bless Them All (TAKEN FROM AN AUG.1945 B.C.C.NEWSLETTER) “CHAIN AROUND THE WORLD” A concept created by Bowen Country Club (B.C.C.) Alumnus, Guido Tardi, and produced By Mrs. Bowen, Mr. and Mrs. Hicks, … Continue reading

Chain Around the World-Letters

Chain Around the World: Letters from Bowen Country Club (BCC) alumni while serving their country during World War ll. A banner with the number 257 hung from the rafters of dining room at the Bowen Country Club. That was the number … Continue reading

Two Week Furlough

As a child I attended a Hull House camp called The Bowen Country Club, located in Waukegan, Illinois. During the summer groups of mothers and children spent two week at this beautiful camp which was filled with flowers, grass and … Continue reading

Angelo Mistretta Biography

Angelo Mistretta Biography February 13, 2010 I was born on February 16, 1925 in Chicago, Illinois at home by a mid-wife. My address was 560 West Gilpin Street (now called Cabrini Street). My siblings are as follows: Margaret (Maggie), Bella, … Continue reading

WWII Veterans: Taylor Street

A list of WWII Veterans from Taylor Street. Continue reading

Vito Favia

Our Veterans: Vito P. Favia Sgt. Vito P. Favia of 1027 South Peoria Street, age 22.  Inducted November 20, 1942. Basic training San Diego, California. After basic training Vito joined the 4th Raider Battalion as demolition expert. He saw action … Continue reading

Alistaire Cooke: "...a date which will live in infamy."

Alistaire Cooke: “…a date which will live in infamy.” Italian Cultural Center, Stone Park, Illinois December 7, 2007 anniversary of Pearl Harbor The following was submitted to a group of Italian Americans who saw fit to hold a round table … Continue reading
1 Comment
  • vinccent r zizzo |

    until i was drafted i lived at 900 so garibaldi pl most of my life i was born there and lived there until i went into the army

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