Kicked off by the grand entrance and warm greeting of the President of the Republic of Italy, President Giorgio Napolitano, The Sons of Italy's 22nd Annual National Education & Leadership Awards Gala sent a message that our humanitarian differences are what truly unites us. An audience of over 1000 Italians, Italian Americans and Italophiles, were graced by the presence of such legends as Quincy Jones introducing his "brother from another mother," President Bill Clinton receiving the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award for Public Service. Poised and diplomatic, Clinton dazzled the audience with a profound message for unity despite disagreements. The evening's Master of Ceremonies was none other than SIF's mainstay host and award-winning actor, Joe Mantegna.
Other honorees included Lewis C. Merletti Former Director, U.S. Secret Service Veteran, U.S. Army 5th Special Forces Group, Vietnam Senior Vice President, Cleveland Browns Receiving the National Education & Leadership Award and Capt. Anthony K. Odierno (U.S. Army, Ret.) Board Director, Wounded Warrior Project receiving the Special Award for Courage & Patriotism who was introduced by his father Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, Commanding General US Forces-Iraq. Noteable audience members included Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Ambassador David Thorne, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Honorable Arthur J. Gajarsa and DC's Italian Stallion Restaurateur Cafe Milano's Franco Nuchese. Patriotic and heartfelt the evening's musical interlude "Bring Him Home" was sung by international tenor Michael Amante closing with "God Bless America."