A. M. Mucci Post No. 2685
Veterans of Foreign Wars
338 Line Street
820 Broadway, 2nd Floor Rear
512 Clinton Street

The A.M. Mucci Post 2685, Veterans of Foreign Wars was named for Private Angelo Mucci who was killed in action while serving with the United States Army in France during World War I.

The Post's home for many years was at 338 Line Street, in a part of South Camden that had many residents of Italian birth and descent. Among its activities was the sponsorship of a large band, which played in many parades and social functions in Camden's Italian American community.

By 1939 the Post had taken up quarters at 820 Broadway, on the second floor, over a furniture store. By the late 1940s the Post had moved to 512 Clinton Street, where it would remain through at least the end of the 1950s. At some point during the 1950s the Post was renamed, and became known as the South Camden Post 2685, Veterans of Foreign Wars.

 Most if not all of the Mucci post's membership were Italian- many of Camden's social clubs were organized on ethnic and/or religious lines in those times. The post, along with the nearby Sons of Italy lodge and several other Italian-based organizations, was a vital part of the social fabric of the neighborhood for many years. 

A.M. Mucci Post 2865, V.F.W. Band
click on image to enlarge
A.M. Mucci Post 2685 VFW band. in front of Camden Free Public Library on Broadway, circa 1939

The AM. Mucci Post VFW Band

The band was formed in the later thirties. Its founder was Joseph Constantino, seen standing behind the bass drum in the above photo. Rehearsal facilities shifted a few times at different locations in South Camden.

The band performed at most of the religious processions (honoring saints primarily) sponsored by Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Roman Catholic Church. The pastor was Father Monica who was succeeded by Father Mike Argullo. During the summer, the processions would be held on Sundays and many times also on Saturday. Each procession was a giant celebration that lasted all day and some weekends. Before the processions started the band would form at the church after the first mass and go up and down every street from South 2nd to South 5th Streets from Chestnut street to Mickle Street, covering most of the parish and finishing again at the church. The processions then started about 2:00 PM and went down South 4th street to Mickle, west to South 3rd, then south on South 3rd street all the way to Chestnut Street., then east to South 4th Street to go north to the church. The processions included many 

of the parishioners and the streets were lined two or three deep in a festive atmosphere. These lasted two or three hours. 

Many games, food and entertainment were available. The entertainment was the Mucci Post band. A bandstand was set on the comer of the church at South 4th and Division streets. Sometimes if the occasion called for it, there would be two or three bands at opposite sides of the street. There might also be fireworks on the lots down by the river. The band performed at most of the cities parades and other functions. When there was no functions at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, the band would appear in many other functions throughout South Jersey, Atlantic City, Pennsylvania and Delaware. The band was well rehearsed, practicing twice a week, as most of the young men had never played an instrument before. The band played many arias from operas, Italian popular songs and novelty numbers. There was no fooling around as the teacher, Mr. Constatino was a strict disciplinarian. He also thought the boys to march and no sloppiness was tolerated anytime. The cost to the boys was 50 cents a month each. If brothers were involved, there would be a discount. He taught theory as well as the instruments. All the boys involved became well rounded musicians. Mr. Constatino was assisted by a few men from the old country including Mike Vitali and Danny DiAmbrosio, who was Mr. Constantino's son-in-law.

Unfortunately, when the war started most of the boys went into the service and the band dissolved. During service time, many had good and bad experiences ... the Normandy invasion, the liberation of Paris, V2 rockets, being torpedoed, etc. 

Some of the band members were Herman Seri, Nick Del Bono, Tony, Fred and Mauro DiFrank, Viviani, Frank Puzzitelli, Frank Tiberi, Raz Marcozzi, Pat Rovere, etc. 

After the Mucci Post band broke up, Joseph Constantino's son-in-law, Danny DiAmbrosio with his father in law's assistance started a new band in the late forties. Some returning veterans joined the band and helped the new kids. The functions were the same as the earlier band. But then the Korean War started and most of that band also went into the service. 

Anthony "Nino" Marcozzi Sr.
May 2014

Right: Post-WWII band members
Mim and Nino Marcozzi 

Camden Courier-Post - February 21, 1936

Vets' Job Preference Victor Reviews Program of Contest
In Address to Ex-Service Men

Test Case Decree Awaits Jurist's Signature Today On Federal Employment;
Camden Group Endorses Action of Philadelphia Martine

The Philadelphia veteran of the World War who was responsible for obtaining a court ruling safeguarding veterans rights for preference on Federal employment projects, last night told his story to Camden ex-service men. 

More than 200 veterans heard Benjamin J. Spang address an open meeting of Corp. Mathews-Purnell Post No. 518, Veterans of Foreign Wars.

The test case brought by Spang was decided last week by Federal Judge George A. Welsh in Philadelphia. Today, Judge Welsh announced, he will sign a decree to carry out the ruling.

Spang told the veterans he fought for two years to obtain preference for veterans and that he fought alone, despite charges he was allied with the Economy League and the Liberty League.

It was decided to take action tonight to endorse Spang's move at a meeting of the Camden County Council, V. F. W., at the headquarters of A. Mucci Post, Third and Line Street. Ten posts are represented in the county council.

The only veteran ever to have brought a test case against the government, Spang has received nationwide acclaim. He is 42, and lives at 548 South Fifty-second Street, Philadelphia.

Refused Relief Job

He went to court after he was refused a job with the Business Census Bureau because his name did not appear on the public relief rolls.

"All I want is a job," he stated after winning his suit. "When the Government decides to live up to the Veterans' Preference Act, then I'll withdraw my suit against them, not I before. We'll go right on to the Supreme Court if necessary," he said.

Spang served three enlistments in the Marine Corps, was wounded in the Belleau Wood in 1918, was discharged from an army hospital and returned home to find a gold star in the window because his mother thought he had been killed. Then he re-enlisted in the Marines and was assigned to recruiting work as a sergeant. Doctors sent him to the Poconos for a chest condition. Then he returned to Philadelphia and entered Temple University as a student under the Veterans' Rehabilitation Administration. He was graduated in 1923 in commercial law and real estate.

While at Temple he met H. Eugene Gardner, attorney who successfully presented Spang's side of the case to the court. His disability allowance of $42 a month was cut to $10 and during CWA he was unable to get a job and was appointed a committee of one to investigate the failure of veterans to receive appointments.

He worked with the Federal Housing Administration until June 19, 1935 as a senior investigator, then he was fired and has not worked since.

"Since then I have conferred with all the officials of the various agencies in Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Washington but could get no satisfaction. Then I hunted up Gardner and we decided to enter suit," he said.

His financial backer, he says is Henry Asher, proprietor of a cigar and variety store at 5211 Market Street, Philadelphia.

Spang has two children for whom he keeps house, his wife being dead. They are Benjamin, 16, and Mary Ellen, 13. Both attend school.

Daniel Conner, Seventh District councilman, said veterans in South Jersey are able to obtain fairer treatment than those in Pennsylvania because they are more strongly organized.

Thomas J. "Reds" Donlon, who led the bonus march from Camden to Washington, asked Spang whether those veterans who obtain their bonus payments would be taken off relief. Spang declared he hoped they would not be discriminated against and that Judge Welsh's decision was looked for to answer that question.

Sergeant Ray Smith, Camden veteran, who also addressed the group declared fairness was one of the qualities the veterans should insist on.

He said he was angered by the fact that on driving down Broadway, where workers were clearing the streets of ice, most of these working with picks and shovels appeared to be undernourished, while others were standing by waving flags to let the cars by.

"The flag-wavers should take their turns at the shovels," Smith declared.

Allen Kline was chairman of the meeting. .

A. M. Mucci Post No. 2685, Veterans of Foreign Wars, 338 Line Street. Commander Innocenzo Ambrico announced that the annual military ball and spaghetti supper will be held Memorial Day night. Proceeds will be spent for the sons of veterans of the V. F. W. A meeting will be held Tuesday night to plan for a membership drive.


February 28, 1936

Mt. Carmel Procession

Many people would walk in the procession and there were bands playing music. My mother had a favorite saint, which was Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Every year on July 16th , the feast day of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, my mother had the florist make a big basket of white flowers. This basket would be carried, in the procession, by a strong teen-age girl. Two younger girls, dressed in white, would hold two white ribbons, which were attached to each side of the basket of flowers. 

Carrying the basket and holding the ribbons was considered an honor and was sought after by many of the little girls. I, of course, being my Mom's daughter, held one ribbon. Mom would usually ask one of my cousins to hold the other ribbon. Many times there were other little girls, also dressed in white, waiting for an opportunity to hold the ribbon if one of the ribbon holders got tired or was exhausted from the heat of the summer day.

We would walk for hours in this procession. People who lived along the route, would come out and give us a drink of water whenever the procession paused. Interspersed throughout the procession were two bands that played music. One was the Valeriani band, which was comprised mostly of older men, and the other was the Mucci Post Band, mostly teen-age boys. There was a good-looking, blond, young boy playing the saxophone in the Mucci Post Band. I did not know him then, but many years later, he would become my husband. His name was John Pontillo.

In the procession, most of the mothers walked behind the saint statue. Some of the women did not wear shoes; their stocking feet would be all blistered because of the hot surface of the streets. They would pray the rosary as they walked. This was their personal sacrifice offered to the Blessed Mother for favors they had received. During the war, their numbers increased because many of the women had sons in the armed services and they would use this occasion to implore the Blessed Mother to watch over their sons.

The saint statue was carried by a group of men that would constantly change because some of them were old and would tire easily. But none of these men wanted to give up an opportunity to show their dedication to the Blessed Mother. The saint statue would stop from time to time so people could pin money on a ribbon sash, which appeared on the front of the saint statue; it was laden with money. The procession lasted for about three hours. These processions were special to our parents because they kept alive the memories of their homeland.

From Growing Up in Camden: Daughter of Immigrants
by Inez Pontillo

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