The following is from the Godfather:
The Don was a real man at the age of twelve. Short, dark slender, living in the strange Moorish-looking village of Corleone in Sicily, he had been born Vito Adolini, but when strange men came to kill the son of the man they had murdered, his mother sent the young boy to America to stay with friends. And in the new land hi changed his name to Corleone to preserve some tie with his native village. It was one of the few gestures of sentiments he was ever to make.
How to understand the last phrase I emphasized?