scorching hot August afternoon in 2007, Dad and I returned home.
years since he set sail for the United States and its invigorating promise of
unbridled opportunity, we visited a humble stone cube in the small southern Sicilian
town of Vittoria.
appreciation for Dad's courage was first ignited long before setting foot in his
birthplace. Tucked away in a small back
room just hours after an errant penalty kick had dashed Italy's hopes of
raising the 1994 World Cup trophy, Dad put his arm around me and, in a strong
but low voice only slightly louder than a whisper, told me the uncensored story
of his transition to life in America as a poor, English-challenged Sicilian
immigrant shouldering the load of his widowed mother and four siblings.
the last time Dad's strength was required to hold a family together. In 2005, breast cancer stole his wife of 25
years and Mom from my little brother and me.
isn't only found on battlefields and in superhero comic books. With Dad as my guide, I'll use scars left by life's
struggles and sorrows as a constant reminder to hold people together, be it family,
company, community or country.
"Don't let fear stop you," Mom always told me. Dad didn't.
Neither will I.