Packed away amongst a number of boxes in our attic is a United States Army helmet that my great-grandfather wore when he served during World War I. My great-grandfather was born in a small town located in the hills of Italy 25 years before World War I. In this town, farming was a common practice and the main way of life. However, this lifestyle never really appealed to my great-grandfather. Like many other immigrants, he decided that he wanted more opportunities and a better life for himself. Around the year 1907, my great-grandfather got on a boat and immigrated to the United States. He took a a job working in a factory inHoboken, New Jersey. There, he learned from a fellow worker that he could become a citizen more quickly by joining the Army, which he evidently went on to do. To my dad’s knowledge, my great-grandfather was never actually sent overseas once the United States joined the war, and we are not exactly sure why. However, we know that his helmet is from his time in training.
My great-grandfather wanted to be a citizen of the United States so badly that he was willing to put his life on the line for a country that he had been in for only a few years. My great-grandfather serving in the Army has also led to a long line of military service for the men in my family, of which I could not be more proud.
– Andrea Matteo