It is my pleasure to give a very special welcome to all of you who have
come together today for this historic event in which we dedicate a monument
to honor the history of the Panther Hollow Community, a community in
which most of you here present were born and raised, or in which your
families were born and raised, during the last one hundred years.
My own father, Carl Giampolo, was born here in 1915. On Christmas Day,
he will celebrate his 92nd birthday; some people now call him the “Mayor
of Panther Hollow” – and I guess that makes my mother, Irma Scenna Giampolo,
the “First Lady” of our community!
My father’s parents, and also my mother’s, were among the masses of
Italian immigrants who came to the United States between the end of the
19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries – humble, honest, hard-working
peasants from Europe who came here in search of a new life. They, like
so many other ethnic groups, were, unfortunately, received into our country
with resentment and contempt. Nevertheless, they persevered, for the
sake of their children and their children’s children – and here we are
today to honor them.
The people who settled in this community came mainly from two very small
Italian towns, Pizzoferrato and Gamberale, in the Abruzzi Region of Italy,
in the mountains just east of the glorious city of Rome, the Center of
Throughout the history of our neighborhood here in
Pittsburgh, we achieved a sense of solidarity, participating collectively
in the growth and development of our community. From one generation
to the next, we were taught, by virtue of the fine example set for
us by our parents and grandparents, the importance of our place in
the history of the United States – a history in which so many ethnic
groups in this country take pride.
We were, and are, Americans, all of us, to be sure, born or naturalized
citizens of this country – but always Italian-Americans as well, with
a truly deep respect for our ancestry. We are one of so many Italian-American
communities in the United States – this makes us part of the great mosaic
of American history in which we, the Italian-Americans, play such an
Our parents and grandparents were labor class American citizens: steelworkers,
construction workers, carpenters, and brick layers – workers whose children
went on to become attorneys, judges, community leaders, physicians, teachers
and university professors.
I bring you very special greetings from my first cousin, Jimmy Cascaito,
who regrets that he cannot be here with us today. He is now Dr. James
Cascaito, Professor of Italian at the State University of New York. He
has asked me to tell all of you that the virtue which he holds in highest
esteem from his upbringing in Panther Hollow is the virtue of humility
– the humble sense of respect which we owe to our ancestors.
This modest memorial has been created and placed here today to honor
those who came before us and who established the character of this very
special Italian-American neighborhood. The names inscribed upon this
plaque are the names of our parents, and their parents before them, our
beloved families to whom we owe our utmost respect.
Thank you for joining me for this very special ceremony.