Ansaloni, a private in the Marines, served on Guam in the Marianas Islands.
“When WWII broke out, he wanted to serve,” Rockett said. “He went down to enlist with his buddies, but the Navy wouldn’t take him because he was too short. So he ended up in the Marines. ... He was only in Guam for a few days before he was killed in action.”
Ansaloni — “Vinnie” to his family — worked at J.B. Blood Co., a downtown grocer, after graduating from Salem High School.
It’s estimated Salem lost 190 young men and women in World War II, including at least a dozen from the largely Italian neighborhood where Ansaloni lived.
Ansaloni was Rockett’s uncle — her mother’s older brother. Her father, Ernest Daly, served as a medic in World War II. Only recently, nearly 70 years after the war, is he beginning to talk more about the things he experienced, Rockett said.
“I’ve grown up hearing about veterans, hearing about what these guys did in World War II,” said Rockett, a member of the local VFW Ladies Auxiliary. “When the possibility of having a square named for my uncle (came together), it was just, ‘Oh, cool. This is really neat.’ To have the square where they grew up, where the family home was, became just really exciting.”
NEW SIGNS FOR VETERANS
- Corner of Front and Charter streets, near the Salem Laundry
- The intersection is named for four World War I veterans, all with the last name of Murphy. Three were killed in action and a fourth survived the war to return home.
Sgt. James Ayube
- Two additional signs have been put up at either end of the Sgt. James Ayube III Memorial Bypass Road. Ayube, a 25-year-old Army medic, was killed in December 2010 by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan. His mother, Christina, will speak at Salem's Memorial Day ceremony.