Much more than a name – A fitting tribute to Louis Porrazzo at the rink that bears his name

January 7, 2010
By

All of 1st Lieutenant Louis Edward Porrazzo’s brothers were in attendance Saturday night. The brothers that fought along side him, laughed with him, cried with him and mourned him when he was killed in action in Vietnam on September 27, 1967. And it was upon his death that Porrazzo’s surviving sisters, Shelly DeMarco and Denise Parisi, gained 12 new brothers from the 1st and 9th Calvary of the United States Army.

“Forty two years ago we lost our brother,” said Shelly DeMarco who was 13 when her brother was killed. “Our parents never got over his death and there was a lot of pain but the one thing people don’t realize is that although we lost Louis in 1967 we have 12 new brothers that are family.”

The skating rink on Constitution Beach has long carried Louis Porrazzo’s name but District 7 Officer and East Boston High School Hockey Coach Robert Anthony noticed there was no picture or plaque commemorating his bravery as a helicopter pilot with the 9th Calvary.

“A lot of people know the name but all the kids and parents that come through the rink’s doors really have no idea who Louis Porrazzo was,” said Anthony. “I thought it was about time to honor his name the right way.”

So on Saturday, despite a steady snowfall outside, Louis Porrazzo’s family and former brothers in arms came to East Boston to rededicate the rink in his name–the right way.

It was a touching tribute that included memories of Porrazzo from the men who served with him like Retired Lieutenant Colonel Burt Chole.

“Louis Porrazzo was natural leader, courageous soldier and a very good man,” said Chole. “He was the epitome of what an infantry officer should be.”

Chole told the story of the last time he talked to Porrazzo.

“On the morning of September 27, 1967 he was getting ready to be inserted into a valley with his men,” said Chole. “He didn’t have to go on that mission and I told him to hang back and he said “Would you ever give up a command?”. I said ‘no’ and smiled. Louis then climbed aboard his helicopter and headed into battle. Later that day he was killed.”

Anthony, who has become well known in Eastie for his tributes and memorials to fallen Boston Police Officers, was applauded for his efforts Saturday.

“When I was on my way to the dedication I really didn’t know what to expect but boy did Bob (Anthony) out do himself,” said Barry McAlpine. “This is a great way to honor our fallen brother.”

Shelly DeMarco and Denise Parisi also celebrated Anthony’s efforts.

“This was amazing,” said Parisi. “This was the most touching thing anyone has done for Louis (Porrazzo).”

Anthony, who spoke at the dedication, talked about the importance of remembering men like Porrazzo.

“Tonight, we remember,” said Anthony. “We remember the distinguished accomplishments of our hero, we remember the honor that he has brought to the Army and nation, we remember those who have served and continue to serve, and we remember those who have supported us. The brotherhood of soldiers makes them want to put their life on the line not only for there country and freedom but also for there brothers in arms.”

  • Paul Penta

    Touching story. I know the rink well and often wondered about Lt Porazzo. Now I know.

    Mr. Lynds, this is a well written piece. I have one small request, though. If we are to help ensure that the youth of the community learn from such quality writing, perhaps it would be beneficial to demonstrate that you know the difference between the homonyms “there” and “their”.

    I apologize if that sounds snippy, but Mr. Joe MacDonald, my English teacher for three years at Dom Savio, would not have it any other way.

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