Providence City Councilman David Salvatore will host a rededication ceremony of Lafazia Square honoring Carlo Lafazia who was killed in combat in World War I. Lafazia Square is located at the intersections of Douglas Avenue and Admiral Street. The ceremony will take place on Saturday, November 11, 2017, from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm. Mayor Jorge Elorza and Lafazia’s nephew, Jeremiah O’Connor, will also attend the ceremony and give remarks.
Lafazia was called an “Emblem of Italian loyalty to the Stars and Stripes,” and was honored by the Providence Board of Alderman on August 3, 1933, when they dedicated the square in his honor.
“Carlo Lafazia was a true American patriot,” stated Councilman David Salvatore, Ward 14. “When I learned that the original plaque had been removed from the square, I immediately knew that we had a responsibility to Mr. Lafazia and his family to replace it. It’s only fitting that we rededicate Carlo Lafazia Square on Veterans Day.”
Carlo Lafazia, a native son of Providence, born in 1897 to Italian immigrants Domenico and Filomena Lafazia, was killed in France during the “Great War.” He was a Private 1st Class in the 16th Infantry Regiment. The 16th was one of the first American battalions to land on French soil in June of 1917. For more than a year Lafazia and his fellow infantrymen fought the Germans who were holding the Argonne Forest along the Western Front.
Known as the Meuse-Argonne Offensive and part of the Hundred Day Offensive, it was one of the final pushes of the Allied forces and was one of the deadliest and biggest offensives in WWI. Nearly 27,000 American soldiers were killed, including Carlo Lafazia on October 11, 1918, just one month before the Armistice of November 11.
Lafazia’s body was never recovered. His name is engraved on the Tablets of the Missing at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery – the final resting place of more than 14,000 Americans who gave their lives in WWI.
The ceremony is open to the public, and parking can be found in the Walgreens parking lot at 354 Admiral Street in Providence.