Last night, HBO's new 10-part mini-series "The Pacific" premiered, highlighting the true stories of three Marines serving in World War II. One of those men was Sgt. John Basilone, an Italian American who was killed in Iwo Jima after fighting his way through the Solomon Islands and Guadalcanal.
Played by Jon Seda in "The Pacific," Basilone was the only enlisted Marine in World War II to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the Navy Cross and the Purple Heart. A native of Raritan, N.J., Basilone is immortalized in a bronze monument in the borough. Additionally, Raritan observes Basilone Day every September with a parade and concert.
Much has been written about Basilone's service to his country, and now two new books are delving into his history in time for the renewed interest that "The Pacific" is sure to generate. Both released in the first months of this year, "Hero of the Pacific: The Life of Marine Legend John Basilone" by James Brady and "I'm Staying With My Boys: The Heroic Life of Sgt. John Basilone, USMC" by Jim Proser with Jerry Cutter offer a closer look at Basilone's story. An added bonus: Proser's biography is authorized by the Basilones and featurs a collection of family photographs.
Here at NIAF, we work every day to highlight the accomplishments of our fellow Italian Americans. So, it is with particularly great pride that we announce the recent appointment of NIAF Board Member Anita Bevacqua McBride to two posts of international importance.
Ms. McBride, the former Assistant to President George W. Bush and Chief of Staff to First Lady Laura Bush, was recently named chair of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, on which she has served since 2009. Additionally, Ms. McBride was one of 24 Americans recently appointed to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA), which will advise the president through the Secretary of Health and Human Services on domestic and global HIV/AIDS policy issues.
Please join us in congratulating Anita Bevacqua McBride!
Welcome to Tutto NIAF, the National Italian American Foundation's new blog about our mission to preserve and promote the Italian American heritage. In this informal space, we'll bring you up to speed on issues of the day - and give you the chance to respond directly to us!
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