Clifton Honors Italian Community in Flag Raising
It is no secret that the current of Italian history runs deep and proud not only in the United States but particularly in New Jersey. For centuries, the Italian population in New Jersey has been a defining feature of the state, becoming well-known for the vast impact the community has had on our culture. That influence has even caused one New Jersey town, Fairfield, to be named the “most Italian place” in the nation with half of its population claiming Italian heritage.
The significance of the Italian community has not been lost on the people of Clifton, however. It was on October 9th that the Italian flag was raised just below the American flag on the City Hall front lawn as the Italian national anthem, Il Canto degli Italiani, crooned from the speakers to symbolize the appreciation and respect the city harbors for its Italian community.
This ceremony was the finale in a long series of flag-raisings that took place throughout the spring, summer, and fall in which City Hall honored ancestries that form the people of Clifton today. Present at the evening event were Councilwoman Rosemary Pino, Mayor Raymond Graboski, and Reverend Monsignor Geno Sylva, director of Saint John’s Cathedral in Paterson. Following the prayer he led to commence the ceremony, Reverend Sylva, a fellow Italian-American himself, detailed what it was like growing up in Clifton.
Sylva spoke of the pride he felt walking down the streets knowing that his grandfather, who immigrated to America from Italy at only fifteen years old, paved those very same roads just decades prior. The city, he said, forever reminds him of the sacrifice and dedication that his grandfather endured to pursue a better life.
He expressed the importance of our diverse, yet shared, histories, emphasizing that America is one beautifully mixed collection of immigrants, each searching for something completely unknown yet imaginable all at once. We have the opportunity and privilege to foster an environment in which we can all not only acknowledge our differences but bask in them each and every day.