NEW YORK, Feb. 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The Board of Governors of the Columbus Citizens Foundation and its membership mourn the loss of an extraordinary American, the first Italian American to serve on the United States Supreme Court, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.
"We offer our deepest sympathies to Mrs. Scalia, their nine children and entire family," commented Angelo Vivolo, President of the Foundation. "The loss of Justice Scalia is immeasurable. He was a man of undisputed integrity. He demonstrated to the Italian American community how to live a life committed to faith, family, and country. His tireless work ethic and dedication to excellence are now passed on to all of our children and future generations of Italian Americans. We owe a monumental debt to Justice Scalia."
Justice Scalia was the first Italian American to be appointed to the Supreme Court in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan and was confirmed by a unanimous vote. His majority and dissenting opinions commanded admiration and respect for their intellectual rigor among people from all sides of the political spectrum. He came to be universally revered by Italian Americans as a source of inspiration and pride.
Coming from humble beginnings, Justice Scalia was born in Trenton, New Jersey, on March 11, 1936. He was the only child of S. Eugene Scalia and Catherine Panaro Scalia. His father, who was born in Sicily and immigrated to the U.S. as a teenager, received a Ph.D. from Columbia University and was a professor of Romance languages at Brooklyn College. His mother, the daughter of Italian immigrants, was an elementary schoolteacher.
Justice Scalia attended Public School 13 in Queens, and Xavier High School in Manhattan, where he rose to be lieutenant colonel in command of the school's marching band. He often carried his French horn to and from school on crowded rush hour trains, and he marched in many parades up Fifth Avenue. From these beginnings, in the following decades, he advanced to become one of the greatest thinkers in the history of American jurisprudence.
The Foundation remains deeply honored that Justice Scalia accepted our invitation to serve as Grand Marshal of the 61st Columbus Day Parade in 2005, a year when the Parade's themes were justice and human rights. The Columbus Day Parade is the world's largest celebration of Italian American culture and success and is organized annually by the Columbus Citizens Foundation.
In accepting the Foundation's invitation, Justice Scalia noted, "This is the top of the hill, to be Grand Marshal in your hometown. I marched down Fifth Avenue many times as part of Xavier High School's Regiment. For an Italian kid from Queens, there could be no greater thrill than to march one last time, as Grand Marshal of the Columbus Day Parade."
The Columbus Citizens Foundation will preserve the memory of 61st Grand Marshal Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as part of our ongoing mission to commemorate the accomplishments of great Italian-Americans for future generations.
ABOUT COLUMBUS CITIZENS FOUNDATION
The Columbus Citizens Foundation is a non-profit organization in New York City committed to fostering an appreciation of Italian-American heritage and achievement. The Foundation, through a broad range of philanthropic and cultural activities, provides opportunities for advancement to deserving Italian-American students through various scholarship and grant programs. The Foundation organizes New York City's annual Columbus Celebration and Columbus Day Parade, which has celebrated Italian-American heritage on New York's Fifth Avenue since 1929.
SOURCE Columbus Citizens Foundation