Rizzi's story is one of compassion and honour - a man who
sacrificed everything he ever knew for the betterment of those
left the only life he ever knew in order to become a Canadian
"I just want my family to stay together . . . it's as
simple as that."
in 1946 in Barie, Italy he grew up as a normal Italian child:
attending school, playing soccer with friends, and helping
his family. Yet he gave all this up when he joined the Italian
military at the age of 19. Although he had no family or relatives
in the military he had these incredible desire to fly.
is one of the most beautiful activities, it's just you and
the world," says Rizzi.
During his basic training he found everything he had hoped
for: new friends and learning to push himself mentally and
really learn a lot about yourself and what your capable of
(when faced with such challenges)."
completion of his basic training Rizzi came to Ottawa for
his first lengthy period. He continued his pilot training
in the Air Force Academy in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and Gimli,
Alberta. He remarks of the fond memories he has of Canada
from that time.
really made me want to experience more of the country afterwards."
the next 20 years he progressed up the ranks in the Italian
Air Force. At age 23 he married his wife Franka and later
had two children, Barbara and Aliessandera.
this time period also marked constant struggles in his life.
survived, many of my friends did not," he says as his
eyes glaze over. The military lifestyle was also very hard
on the family, having to move six times in 20 years.
asking a lot of your family to expect them to follow you everywhere,"
also mentions the number of friends that all family members
have left behind and the number of different schools the daughters
have attend. A constant movement towards the logistic branch
of the military marked these promotions, where he finally
held the prestige's position of Personal Assistance to the
Chief of Staff.
enjoyed this advancement because he learned the skills of
international corporation- the shift from an air force that
stands alone to a number of air forces that join together.
also noted that this is where the future of the military lies.
With the movement towards trans-national organizations (i.e.
NATO, NAFTA, EU), the need for a focused military force becomes
more and more important.
can't have everybody pulling in different directions . . .
you need one main objective for everybody to work towards,"
1999 the Rizzi's moved to Canada when Orazio took the position
of attaché on behalf of the Italian government. It
is a job that he loved while it lasted, but recently he retired
from the position. The reason for this was the constant pressure
that the job was putting on his family life.
daughter Barbara, now 29, has established herself in the Ottawa
community while his other daughter Aliessandera, 25, is attending
Algonquin College. Both daughters also have met very important
people in their lives including co-workers, schoolmates and
the family becoming more and more settled in the Canadian
community, Orazio and Franka decided it was in the best interests
of the entire family to stay in Canada. They felt it would
be too hard to pick up and move again to another part of Canada,
and although they wanted to be with their remaining family
in Italy, neither parent wanted to break up their existing
the decision to stay in Canada the Rizzi's must make the transition
from being Italians in Canada to becoming Italian-Canadians.
will always be Italian. Period."
Barbara has Canadian citizenship, the other three members
of the family do not. Thus they find themselves trying to
become one of the last Italian immigrant families, forced
to become Canadian out of their desire to stay together.
is what Orazio represents to me. An individual who is willing
to make all the sacrifices needed in order for the betterment
of his family. He has had to redefine his lifestyle and future
in regards to those around him.
don't want our daughters to experience the same lifestyle
of always moving around," says Rizzi, "and we can't
afford to lose that connection with them."
the family has applied for Canadian citizenship. Until this
is granted they are not able to work. Orazio has determined
to fill his time by giving back to the Ottawa Italian community.
He was recently elected the President of Italian Week, and
he has large goals to bring his own Italian experiences to
number one priority is youth involvement . . . that has been
the compliant in the past and I believe this needs to be addressed
now rather than later."
has attempted to accomplish this by bringing in two youths
as part of the 15-member committee, and giving them the opportunity
to express and implement their ideas.
He would also like to see a synergy between all the Italian
organizations so their goals can be met together, not on a
case-by-case basis. He believes the COMITES is one way to
the Rizzi's receive their Permanent Residential Status they
wait. The longer they stay, the more intertwined they become
with the ideals of the community they are now part of. As
much as they want to remain distinctively Italian, they are
slowly adopting the ideologies of our Canadian culture: honour,
even jokes that he now watches hockey games. And thus slowly
they are becoming the last Italian immigrants.