Councilor David Salvatore (Ward 14) announced that plans are underway to relocate and rededicate the Lafazia Square Monument on Admiral Street after the original monument was destroyed in June of this year. A new monument is being commissioned and will be placed at a new site at 389 Admiral Street. Additionally, to honor the life and service of Carlo Lafazia, Salvatore proposed a resolution , approved by the City Council on October 7th, to designate a portion of Admiral Street as ‘LaFazia Way.’
“I was shocked and saddened when I learned that the Lafazia Square Monument was damaged beyond repair this past summer. Carlo Lafazia made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and he and his family deserve the utmost respect and honor, as do all of our veterans, even 100 years later. Lafazia represents the history of Italian immigrants in our city and their indelible contribution to our city, state and nation,” stated Councilor David Salvatore.
Carlo Lafazia was a Providence-born veteran of World War I who was killed in action. Born in 1897 to Italian immigrants Domenico and Filomena Lafazia, Carlo Lafazia served as 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 1917. For more than a year, Private Lafazia and his fellow infantrymen fought the Germans who were holding the Argonne Forest along the Western Front. On October 11th, 1918, just one month before the November 11th Armistice, Private Lafazia was killed fighting in the Meuse Argonne Offensive.
“Several years after the war ended, the United States disinterred the bodies of 14,000 American soldiers from French cemeteries so that they could be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Sadly, Carlo Lafazia was not among them, and could not be laid to rest at home because his remains were never found. While his memory was not afforded that honor, thanks to the Providence City Council and the City of Providence Special Committee for the Review of Commemorative Works, Carlo Lafazia’s sacrifice will not be forgotten,” stated Jeremiah C. O’Connor Sr., nephew of Carlo Lafazia.
Private Lafazia was called an “Emblem of Italian loyalty to the Stars and Stripes,” and was honored by the Providence Board of Aldermen on August 3rd, 1933, when they dedicated the original memorial square in his honor. Lafazia Square was re-dedicated by the Providence City Council on November 11th, 2017 after it was restored from an earlier defacement.
The new memorial and commemorative street designation are set to be dedicated in Spring 2022.