Valente's grandson Ralph Madalena, Ralph's daughter and reps from the American Legion, VFW and Jewish War vets spoke, and I was also invited to share a few words for the resolution.
I spoke from the heart this morning, in that we of the NYSOSIA named a lodge for Michael Valente, are so very proud of this man who emigrated from Saint Appolinaire, near Monte Cassino, went to Ogdensburg, NY to meet his uncle, worked in a hospital, served in the military with honors, met his wife in Newark and then owing to the Depression moved to Long Beach to become a distinguished citizen of that community.  And a family man that now has four generations.  What pride!

Most of all, it was his bravery in France in WWI which obtained the recognition of the Congressional Medal, awarded some 11 years after his bravery, in 1929, by President Herbert Hoover.  The books say that the man waited too long!  We may know that story, but he did get the Medal and what is so very important is that a BRIDGE is being named for him, which will last forever.  A bridge that connects the mainland of LI with Long Beach...thousands will see it.  Just think, the children will now be calling it the Valente Bridge

Keep the date of Wednesday, September 29, 2010 OPEN for that may be the day of the dedication and which is coincidental with the same day and month her received the award by the then President.  On January 10, 1976 he passed on and so this January will be 35 years.  What a great time to honor him on that special anniversary of his passing.

And so, this IS an honor for the family, the friends, the vets, Long Beach, but for the OSIA, national and state.  I know of no other bridge named for a Congressional Medal of Honor winner...although I have not checked that too far.  If so, we now have Father Capodanno Boulevard, and perhaps other named sites, etc., for our dear Anthony Casamento and John Basilone, just as we have lodges named for them.
Long live the memory of our Congressional Medal of Honor Recipients ... especially those of Italian heritage!!