Raritan, New Jersey, the town where WWII hero John Basilone grew up, will soon become the ‘Sister City’ to Colle Sannita, which is located in the Province of Benevento, Campania, Italy. The small mountain town, situated near the border of Molise, is where the Medal of Honor and Navy Cross recipient’s father grew up. The ceremony joining the two towns will take place later this month.
Kim Van Note, Basilone’s niece and a co-founder of the Basilone Memorial Foundation, will travel to Italy for the official signing of the Sister City agreement. Colle Sannita is also renaming one of its thoroughfares ‘Manila John Street’ after Basilone’s Marine nickname.
On September 21 and 22, Raritan will hold Basilone Weekend, with a series of special events, beginning on Saturday with the Manila Madness No Excuses 5K Run through the borough streets. Proceeds from the race, whose entry fee is $30, will benefit the Steeplechase Cancer Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Somerset and Fisher House, a nonprofit network of homes where military and veterans’ families stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment.
On Sunday, September 22, the 37th Annual John Basilone Memorial Parade takes place at 1:00 pm followed by a Food Truck Festa on Canal Street by the Basilone Monument at the west end of Somerset Street.