This Is Rutherford
Honoring Local Veteran Tullio Fuligni
Updated: Nov 19, 2019
Written by Joan Tidona and Jennifer Ersalesi
Photo credit: Jennifer Ersalesi
Tullio Fuligni’s (1898-1984) service to our country is recognized with a small monument in Rutherford’s Lincoln Park. An immigrant from Rome, Fuglini joined the army when he was underage (age 14) and served in an American Mexican conflict. When his true age was discovered, (the story goes) he convinced his mother to allow him to remain in the Army. His mother agreed and he served admirably in WWI, under U.S. Army General John Pershing, and WWII. After he was discharged in April 1919, Fuligni graduated from high school and took college courses at night. He also developed an interest in sculpture. That same year, he marched down Manhattan’s Fifth Ave with the returning 27th Division in the Veterans' Day Parade. Marching in parades that honored Veterans, became very important to him after that experience.
When he was not serving in the military, Fuligni worked as a foreman, electrician and stage painter for Broadway theaters. However, at the age of 44, Fuligni enlisted for the third time and was ranked as a technical sergeant. He was assigned to ordnance, the military branch in charge of weaponry. While serving for the third time, he was also assigned other roles, including: mapmaker, telegrapher, and demolitions technician. In later years, he devoted himself to promoting veterans’ causes, including making sure all wounded service men and women got the treatment that they needed at VA Hospitals and nursing homes. He also made it a priority to march in every Veterans’ Day Parade he possibly could. He marched in his last parade in March of 1983 at the age of 85. He passed away the following year. The monument in Lincoln Park was erected through the efforts of veteran organizations. The monument, in Rutherford’s Lincoln Park, was erected in 1985.
Incidentally, Tullio’s wife, Brunetta, served in the Women's Army Corps during WWII. They are buried beside each other at the Long Island Cemetery.