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The Best of 2015

“I had a boyfriend who broke up with me and I was crying,” Fox News Anchor Maria Bartiromo told an audience of almost 2,000 at the 40th Anniversary of NIAF Gala at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel about a puppy love. “I was so young and I remember saying to my mom, ‘Don’t tell anyone, I don’t want anyone to know this – just us.’ Well, she left my bedroom and went right upstairs and told my father, proceeded to call my sister, told my brother. And it was such a lesson for me because in my family my problem was everyone’s problem. I think as a kid, that had an enormous impact on me because I realized and I thought that I could do anything, because it didn’t matter; whatever I did, even if I failed, I had my family.”

Italian life is all about La Familia. “This is the way that we were raised and this is the value of the culture that we celebrate tonight. It must have been so hard to leave a place where you had so much safety surrounded by friends and family,” she said of her ancestors, “but they had that much hopefulness and optimism that if you came to America you could start anew, create a better life for your family; and frankly that is exactly what they did.”

That Italian experience was backed up by others: That sense of family and family support that is one debt of gratitude we owe to our ancestors, and that is a legacy that not only supported our families, but was a great investment in America. “We have become fully a part of the American Dream,” said John Cavelli. “Those are terms that Governor Cuomo spoke very eloquently about at the Democratic National Convention. – that we are a part of the mosaic: ‘We can make it all the way with the whole family in tact.'” As for the boy that broke Maria’s heart? As newly inducted NIAF Hall of Fame singer Connie Francis would say: Who’s Sorry Now?