By Josh Resnek
Next week, on August 28, there will be an early morning Mass held inside the Immaculate Conception Church on Broadway in honor of James Robert Pizzano.
This will mark the 50th memorial Mass planned by his family in honor of Pizzano.
“The whole time period of the Vietnam War…we got screwed over by our politicians. We fell apart and we have never recovered,” said Leo Pizzano, Jimmy’s brother. Mr. Pizzano is a soft spoken, respectful, thoughtful Everett gentleman from an old Everett family.
A retired carpenter like his father before him, Pizzano said there was a lapse of patriotism then and there is today.
“Don’t forget, my brother was one of 58,383 young men and women who gave their lives to their country and for what?” he wondered aloud.
Jimmy Pizzano died on August 28, 1968 in Vietnam, in a place called Cuchi — made famous in the annals of the Vietnam War where the Vietcong had built a maze of underground tunnels under the jungle from which they launched thousands of attacks.
During a firefight in Cuchi that took place during the early evening, PFC Jimmy Pizzano was killed very likely by a mortar.
He was 19 years old.
By the end of the war in 1975, 9 Everett young men died in battle in Vietnam.
“He was a proud paratrooper in the 101st Airborne,” recalled Leo Pizzano. “I’ve got all his letters. I have the flag given to us by the government. I’ve got his medals but they mean nothing.
“No one joins the service to die in vain. A lot of boys were wasted over there (in Vietnam). My parents were against him going into the armed forces. It was what he wanted,” his brother said.
He described an Everett young man with many friends. Jimmy ran track at the high school. He was, according to his brother, normal in every way. Popular. Excited about life. Coming out of a good and decent home.
“We were just kids (when he died in Vietnam). He was tight with his friends. He had a lot
Jimmy graduated from EHS in 1967. He went to Lowell Tech and then on December 29 he came into the house and told everyone,“I’mgoingtojointhe service.”
In July of 1968 he was deployed to Vietnam – a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne.
“There was a big going away party at our family home on Cottage Street,” said his brother. His closest buddies were all there, he recalled – James Bakeman, Carmen Cardillo, Richard Deming, Herbert Lawrence, John Luongo, PFC Alfred Moss, Coleman Nee and Steve Winsor.
They would all serve as pall bearers at his funeral.
Jimmy was waked at the Carr Funeral Home on Broadway. The funeral Mass was held in the Immaculate Conception Church. He was buried in Holy Cross Cemetery September 10, 1968.
Fast forward 50 years.
“Everyone is gone now,” Leo said of his mother and father and aunts and uncles. “Me, my sisters Joan and Kathy have kept his memory alive. We were all close with Jimmy. We loved him. It was an impossible loss for us and for my parents. We promised to keep his memory alive and we have but we’ve had help,” he added.
He said Ella Di Prima of the School Department has kept as part of its original suitability study. During that interview they asked Mr. Wynn about his knowledge of the ownership of the land in Everett, MA and he became angry.
He went on a tirade about his own reputation and how it towered above everyone else’s reputation.
He argued passionately that he’d have nothing to do with a land deal that was crooked and that for anyone to assume he knew anything about the players in on the land deal that they were terribly mistaken.
He painted a picture of himself as someone way beyond the fray – a picture he could never paint again given what has been revealed about him since he resigned.
the memories of fallen soldiers from all wars alive through the POW-MIA Memorial in Everett Stadium, to the Chair of Honor at City Hall and the High School, and the many pictures on the first floor of the high school.
“We still mourn the loss of our brother and friend…but he wasn’t the only one to die. We do our bit. But thank God for Ms. Di Prima and what she does to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.”