All Gave Some, Some Gave All
by Cate Murway

“The nation that forgets its defenders will be itself forgotten.”
[John] Calvin Coolidge, Jr., the only U.S. President to be born on the fourth of July

Let's remember those who have served, those who currently serve, and all who will in the future volunteer to serve our great nation in defense of our freedom! Especially, let's be thankful and keep in mind those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for an often ungrateful and forgetful people! They have earned nothing less than the highest respect, praise, and thanks from our entire country. We must preserve the sacredness of their sacrifice; they should not be forgotten. Our Nation cries out for heroes and role-models of strength, character, and inspiration but the passing of time and fading memories obscure those very heroes we need so badly, from our consciousness.

"A man who is good enough to shed blood for his country is good enough to be given a square deal afterwards." Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., 26th President of the United States

Courageous and aggressive and willing to extend their experience beyond the physically familiar, the Lalli brothers, all veterans, put service above self and went where they were told to go, giving of their youth and health. They exemplified patriotism, honor, duty, and sacrifice.  Ralph, Al and Nick are the sons of Italian immigrant, tool & die maker Filomeno and Dorrance Street resident/St. Mark student, Anna [Ferraro] Lalli.
Their dad followed two of his brothers to the U.S, working first for a pencil factory, then at the Piasecki Aircraft Corporation (PiAC), founded by the American vertical flight pioneer Frank Piasecki, one of the original inventors of the helicopter, who was awarded the country's highest technical honor, the National Medal of Technology by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, and he then worked for LaValle Aircraft in Newtown.
The full of charm, cheerful, gifted, and without egoism, Ralph Frank Lalli, N.E Catholic H.S. for Boys ’50 [cardinal red & white were the school colors] was born in the Dorrance Street home and nearly a decade later, the positive, and full of energy and versatility, football/basketball/track ¼ mile/dash sprint athlete, Albert William and football/basketball, baseball athlete, Nicholas James Lalli, BHS ’61 [school colors are red & gray] were born the day before the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor, one of the great defining moments in history.

Airman 1st Class (A1C) Ralph served during the Korean War in Fairbanks, AK after his basic training in Syracuse, NY. His duties included those of a  radio operator in Biloxi, MI and he was discharged from Fort Dix. He met his wife, color guard/rifle/flag member Josephine [Tosti], BHS ’50 while both were in the Bracken Cadets Corp.
A Barry Street resident, Ralph is a retired supervisor from the Nylomatic Corporation, Fallsington, a custom, injection molder that specializes in high quality, close tolerance engineered thermoplastic molding for industrial applications. Their four children are all BHS graduates: Raphael [Ralph]; Joanna; owner of Cannoli Coffee bar & gelateria, Michael N. Lalli, BHS ’76; and Gregg.

Army Sergeants E5 Spec 5 Al and E5 Sgt. Nick, Bracken Junior Cadets Corp. members, both spent 13 months in Korea and then were stationed in Huachuca, AZ after their basic training in Fort Gordon, GA.  Al is employed at Earl M. Jorgensen Company [EMJ] in Langhorne, a leading supplier of Steel and Aluminum Bar, Tubing, and Plate to manufacturing companies in North America. Al and field hockey athlete and captain of the color guard Sharon Elizabeth [Wilga], BHS ’64, born on 11-11, Armistice Day, [also known as Poppy Day] have two sons, ice hockey athlete, Albert William, Jr., Bishop Egan ’90 and Kevin Vincent, BHS ’93. They designed their Wood Street home with the cathedral ceiling and skylights that they’ve lived in for the last 25 years.
Sharon, [her late parents were Theodore & Rebecca [Loux] ], who went as Al’s date to his senior prom, also partnered with him to dance to "The Stomp" written by Kal Mann and Dave Appell, performed by the Dovells at the Goodwill Fire Hall. Detail oriented Sharon, retired from Federal Express, works as the part-time underwriter administrator for 1st Financial Resources, Securities Brokers at Sarris & Associates in Newtown.

Taft Street resident, Nick, a disabled veteran after he broke his back while in the service, falling 45’ from a telephone pole, retired as chief of maintenance from the Nylomatic Corporation. His daughters are Justine [Lalli] Fulginiti, BHS ’82 and Angela Marie, BHS ’92.

Commander Nick, Sergeant-at-Arms Al and Ralph have belonged to the Robert W. Bracken American Legion Post #382 for nearly a decade. Per past adjutant/ finance officer/ right hand man, SAIC Arthur John Younglove, “Commander Nick has pumped life back into the organization and the membership is up.” Sharon, a member for 3 years, assists with charities and fundraisers, [biggest thing is Poppy Day], is currently President of the American Legion Post #382 Auxiliary, providing a rich resource pool of ability, talent and leadership experience.

The Legion’s charity work, using interest funds from the sale of the Legion building on Radcliffe Street in the 1980’s, includes financial assistance to The Scotland School for Veteran's Children (SSVC). This is a state owned school that offers tuition-free residential education programs for children of PA residents who are veterans or are currently serving in the U.S. armed forces. It was originally established in 1895 as the PA Soldiers Orphans Industrial School and has educated over 10,000 students. The Junior ROTC program at Scotland School for Veterans' Children is on the way to earning top honors from the U.S. Army, putting the program well on the way to a gold star.
Their fiscal resources also fund the annual $500.00 BHS senior academic scholarships and achievement awards for middle school students, donations to VA Medical Centers, American Red Cross and The Salvation Army. After the veteran’s eloquent commitment, respect should not ebb over time.
Funds are also designated for the Chapel of the Four Chaplains. Although the unique inter-faith chapel that was dedicated 2-3-51 at Temple University in Philadelphia no longer exists, the work of the Chapel of the Four Chaplains continues. President Harry S. Truman in his dedication speech said, “This interfaith shrine... will stand through long generations to teach Americans that as men can die heroically as brothers, so should they live together in mutual faith and goodwill.” The four Lt. Army chaplains, Rev. George L. Fox (Methodist); Rabbi Alexander D. Goode (Jewish); Fr. John P. Washington (Roman Catholic); and Rev. Clark V. Poling (Dutch Reformed), who gave up their life jackets when the supply ran out, were killed in action when the USAT Dorchester was hit by a torpedo and sank on 2-3-43. Three of the four chaplains were Boy Scouts or Boy Scout Leaders.
$20,000 was donated to revive the Post’s Cadet Corps with new drums and bugles. The Bracken “Cavaliers” hail from Bristol and claim to be the first organized [1924] Junior Drum and Bugle Corps and will celebrate their 85th anniversary in 2009. Art Younglove was in the corps for “6 years as a kid and was director for 6 years and is nurturing it along from the sidelines”.

Monies are earned selling poppies that are assembled by hospitalized veterans at the many festivals, including Celtic Day, African-American Day, Italian Day, and Puerto Rican Day, all held at the Bristol Lions Park and Wharf and also at Historic Bristol Day.

“In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.”
“In Flanders Fields”, by Lt. Col. John Alexander McCrae, M.D. [1872-1918]

The Lalli family’s patriotism and character truly comes from the heart. They share a deep and abiding concern for their fellowman, great compassion for those in need and a sense of personal responsibility and commitment to God, country and community.

Ralph volunteered his time for the 2nd graders “at risk” reading program twice a week at the Snyder-Girotti School.  Reading specialist teacher, Mary Gesualdi confirmed, “The kids loved him! He was the best. He always made them feel better for having been with them."
Nick clearly expressed that he loves westerns!  He also shares his birthdate with William Surrey Hart [December 6, 1864 –1946], an American silent film actor, screenwriter, director and producer, who too was fascinated by the Old West and particularly interested in making a true representation with his tough, realistic, sentimental western films.
The Academy Award-winning 1972 crime film, “The Godfather”, that spans 10 years from 1945 to 1955, based on the novel of the same name by Mario Puzo and directed by Francis Ford is the mutual favorite film of Al & Sharon. The powerful use of script and cinematography is perfect and it has been selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry.

They wholeheartedly all enjoy all Italian food! A special favorite is the dish Sharon prepares for the traditional Christmas Eve dinners. The prime section of the calamari, [seems to sound more palatable than squid], is stuffed with seasoned bread stuffing and served with Sharon’s homemade gravy. Per Nick, “Can’t get enough of it!”
Sharon shared, “They are a very close-knit family and I admire that in a family!”

The three brothers, very solid citizens and people that can be depended upon, are also members of the VFW, Sons of Italy, St. Ann Club, Knights of Columbus, Council #906 [Albert is Past Grand Knight] and the “The International Order of Odd Fellows”. The Odd Fellows, at least according to one story, got its curious name from the fact that it was a lodge that opened its doors to the working class who at that time did not ordinarily belong to fraternal orders--and were thus "odd".

They appreciate the closeness of the town and the fact that they could walk everywhere growing up and they had everything right in town! Their favorite stores were the Winnie Wink Shop, Pappajian’s Ice Cream, Kanter’s and the J.G. McCrory's five & dime.

“The hoagies are awesome at Mazzanti’s Market! We used to have 3 or 4 bakeries and grocery stores on almost every corner. The donuts were unreal!”

The fresh unhomogenized milk from the Dyers Dairy farm with the cream on top was delivered by horse and buggy, eggs by Dixon from Croydon and ice delivered by the iceman, and bread were delivered by truck. “Joe from Camden” came through every other week and sold clothes and tableclothes.
There was always plenty of recreation for the kids and dances for the teens, which pleased Ralph, the good dancer of the group, who still “jitterbugs”!

The entire families have always enjoyed listening to Jerry Maurio, first at the historic King George II Inn and at his sell-out shows for great causes at the Bristol Riverside Theatre.

Their love of life extends to their song favorites as well. Ralph couldn’t choose- he just enjoys all the 40’s & 50’s oldies. Sharon & Al agreed on “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You”, sung by Rod Stewart and Frank Sinatra’s “Just Couldn’t Say Goodbye” and Nick’s choice is “Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime.”

“Love your country,
Live with pride..
Don’t forget those who died.”
“Some Gave All” lyrics by Billy Ray Cyrus

Robert W. Bracken American Legion Post #382
St. Ann Clubhouse
509 Wood Street
Bristol, PA
1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month at 7:00 P.M.

To have a local veteran/member of the military Spotlighted in The Bristol Pilot

Lalli Brothers w/ Sharon Lalli