May 27, 2022
Parker Gavigan, Director of Communications
Vandalized Monument Rededicated to Providence WWI Soldier Killed in Action
Providence, RI – On Friday, the Providence City Council and City Archives dedicated a new monument to U.S. Army Infantry soldier, Private 1st Class Carlo Lafazia, killed in action during World War I. Lafazia was born in 1897 to Italian immigrants who settled on Admiral Street in Providence’s Elmhurst/Wanskuck neighborhood. Lafazia enlisted in the U.S. Army’s 16th Infantry Regiment in 1917. The regiment was one of the first American battalions to land on French soil. Private Lafazia was killed on October 11, 1918, in France, fighting in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, a final Allied assault against the Germans that eventually ended the Great War one month later. Lafazia was 20 years old, and his remains were never found.
Private Lafazia was called an “emblem of Italian loyalty to the Stars and Stripes,” and in 1933, the Providence Board of Aldermen honored Lafazia by naming memorial square after him. The original monument was vandalized and, more recently, in 2021. A new stone was procured by Councilor David Salvatore (Ward 14), with the help of donations and City Archivist Caleb Horton managing the project. “When this monument went missing and later vandalized, it became a priority for me to create a new memorial for Private Lafazia and his Providence descendants, the O’Connor family,” said Councilor Salvatore. “Like all our fallen heroes, Private Lafazia’s service to our country and his ultimate sacrifice should be honored, respected, and remembered forever in our neighborhood and state.”
“Italian Americans served our country and city honorably. As we head into the Memorial Day weekend, let us never forget the sacrifice of young soldiers for our freedoms today. This stone monument is an incredible tribute to Private Lafazia, a son of Providence. I thank Councilor Salvatore for taking the initiative and Archivist Caleb Horton for executing such a thoughtful plan,” said Council President John Igliozzi (Ward 7).
Donations for the Lafazia monument located at Eagle Square (intersection of Douglas Avenue and Admiral Street) were generously provided by Richard Baccari and the Rhode Island Heritage Foundation. A donation account is now established for future city monument preservation. For details, please reach out to the City Archives division at 401.680.5314 or https://www.providenceri.gov/cityarchives/