LOST AT SEA MEMORIAL AT THE CHAPEL OF FOUR CHAPLAINS
The Navy Yard, Philadelphia, PA
The newest project that we are working on at the Four Chaplains is the Lost at Sea Memorial. Read all about it below. Bricks for the memorial are being sold at $325.00 each. See brochure link above.
Paolo Recchia volunteered at the age of 18 to enlist in the Italian Navy to see “tutto il mondo” (the world). This was 1935 and the first year was spent learning to be an electrician in the naval school. Upon finishing, he joined the Navy cruiser, Raimondo Montecuccoli, and traveled to many countries during the China/Japan conflicts, seeing North Africa, Indochina, China, Japan and Australia while protecting Italian interests. In China, he was based in exotic Shanghai and then sailed all around Japan and Australia stopping in many ports. Paolo was mesmerized by China’s Great Wall. In 1939, he returned to the Mediterranean Sea and protected Italy during World War II. He was decorated with the “War Merit Cross”, “Medal of Military Valor”, and the title of “Order of the Crown of Italy”.
Near the end of his navy career, he fell in love with a Neapolitan beauty, Anna Sannino, while based there. They married, moved to Milan and raised two children, Anna Maria and Lino Massimo. He built a flourishing electrical business, working on many high-rise apartment buildings, and eventually bringing in his young son.
Always the adventurer, he moved his family to the United States and Philadelphia in 1979, even at the age of 65! He saw a need for bringing retired navy immigrants like himself together and formed in 1983 an Italian Navy Veterans Association known as Giovanni Caboto after the explorer of the seas. Members came from all over the Delaware Valley and while he was the founder, they honored him as “President”. They organized many social events and fundraisers, and proudly welcomed the Italian military ships when visiting Philadelphia.
The Italian Government recognized his important work in 1986 with the title of “Cavaliere” (Knight) and later in 1999 the elevated title of “Ufficiale” (Officer).
Because his love and passion for the Navy and the oceans were so strong, he envisioned dedicating a monument to the fallen sailors lost at sea, a common memorial found in cities and towns all over Italy. He wrote to the Italian Admiral Giasone Piccioni, Commander in Chief of the Italian Navy, explaining his desire and requesting an anchor for the monument. Admiral Piccioni answered immediately and made sure in 1986 that the “tall” ship Amerigo Vespucci transport a 7 foot one ton steel ship’s anchor to Baltimore.
Years have gone by, Paolo passed away in 2011, and Massimo Recchia and Angelo Tartaglini have valiantly warehoused the anchor in Philadelphia. While searching for a suitable memorial location, it was realized that the Chapel of Four Chaplains would be a perfect site to honor ALL those who have been lost at sea. Whether it was the 672 lost on the DORCHESTER, the 450 Korean student lost in 2014 from the SEWOL ferry disaster, or the recent loss of the US freighter EL Faro with a crew of 36 during Hurricane Joaquin, this dream of a memorial honoring ALL of those Lost At Sea has been realized right here at the Navy Yard in Philadelphia. The anchor will be permanently placed on a marble pedestal with an appropriate bronze plaque, and surrounded by memorial paving bricks.
We ask that you join us in this campaign by sponsoring a brick to memorialize some event in your life, or in your family tree that is related to the sea. This may be an idea that has been started by the Italian Navy Veterans Organization, but it really relates to all of us, our dependence on the sea, and those whose lives ended, not in a “Flanders Field”, but in the ocean depths.
“Eternal Father strong to save, whose arm hath bound the restless wave, O hear us when we cry to thee, for those in peril on the sea”