On Friday, October 18, 2019 the corner of 31st Avenue and 41st Street in Astoria was officially renamed “Staff Sergeant Rocco Moretto Way”, in a tribute honoring Rocco’s service to our nation as well as to the community of Astoria.
Moretto, a longtime Astoria resident, died in August 2018 at 94. He was drafted in 1943 to serve in the U.S. Army, where he was assigned to the 1st Infantry Division — a frontline force its members dubbed the “Big Red One.” Staff Sgt. Moretto was just one of two soldiers in a 219-man combat unit not wounded or captured during a grueling 11-month tour through western Europe, beginning on D-Day by storming Omaha Beach and ending in Czechoslovakia. His name is now forever part of the New York City grid line.
The ceremony took place on the corner of 31st Ave and 41st Street and was attended by Rocco’s family, VFW 2138 Post members, members of the Federation of French War Veterans, and local residents. The ceremony was emceed by Council Member Costa Constantinides with speeches from VFW-SVA Legislative Fellow Lobbing Salaka, and son John Moretto.
“Staff Sergeant Rocco Moretto put his life on the line during World War II in the fight for freedom because he always did what was right,” said Constantinides. “He never stopped hearing that call of duty, and continued to serve his community from the moment he came home until his passing last year. His legacy will live on this corner as a reminder of the sacrifice so many have made in the name of freedom.”
Rocco’s family members were then invited to help unveil the new street sign in unison. A collective pull on the sting revealed the polished new street sign bearing Rocco Moretto’s name, with the afternoon sun shining brightly down upon it. A replica of the sign was then presented to son John Moretto.
A huge thank you to VFW-SVA Legislative Fellow Lobsang Salaka, Post Commander Rigo Villalvir, Council Member Costa Constantinides, and members of Rocco Moretto VFW Post 2348 for the planning and execution of the street renaming and ceremony. The ceremony was an emotional yet wonderful tribute, and meant a great deal to Rocco’s family. We are forever grateful for your hard work and dedication in making the street renaming happen. As the VFW Post beautifully stated: “we all miss Rocco – now the whole city gets to share a little bit of him.”