A Maspeth group will pay tribute in a ceremony on Sunday to certain U.S. servicemen who never came home.
“These are guys who we know were killed, but whose bodies were never recovered,” said Diego Lodico of Maspeth. Lodico is the founder of Bella Italia Mia, an educational Italian culture organization, and a nonprofit offshoot with the aim of memorializing the country’s missing sons.
“My wife’s brother was killed over Germany in a bombing mission in World War II,” Lodico said. ”The plane was destroyed.”
Lodico is a veteran, having served as an Army medic toward the end of the Korean War.
Sunday’s ceremony, scheduled for 2 p.m. at All Faiths Cemetery in Middle Village, where Lodico was successful in securing space for a monument in 2010 after a meeting with Daniel Austin, president of the cemetery.
“I went there to speak to him for about 15 minutes,” Lodico said. “It turned into 45.”
The memorial has been in place since December, and now Lodico is looking for families of those, who, like his brother-in-law, have earned a plaque on the monument.
“You need the next of kin, and I tried reaching out to the military,” Lodico said. “But they told me they can’t give me that information. So I’m hoping with some publicity families will approach us.” Sunday’s ceremony will feature a color guard and a bugler from Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn. Lodico said he always has been moved to help the nation’s veterans.
“You see these ads on TV where they ask for $19 contributions for veterans,” he said disapprovingly. “Not that I don’t think veterans should be taken care of. I think the government should do it.”
Gene Burch, past commander of American Legion Post 1424 in Forest Hills, said he and fellow members will be there in their personal and post capacities.
“We have the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, but there’s really nothing for the “MIAs,” Burch said. “I think it’s wonderful that they’re doing this.”
The ceremony will take place during the regular monthly meeting of Bella Italia Mia, which takes is held at Christ the King Regional High School.
All Faiths, located at 67-29 Metropolitan Ave., is across the street from the school. Participants will head for the cemetery beginning at 1:30 p.m.