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.)