Al Landi Jr.’s father Alfred Landi Sr. was a spry 19-year-old baseball-playing minor league level shortstop who could hold his own on the diamond in 1937, when he enlisted in the United States Army, four years before that attack on Pearl Harbor brought this country into World War II.
“He was a pretty good baseball play, a good minor league shortstop,” Landi Jr. said. “These guys gave up everything to fight for in World War II, that’s why we are here today.”
To honor his dad, who died 30 years ago, Landi, who now lives in Rockaway, but lived in Woodmere for the past 14 years, will have a memorial brick installed by the veterans monument in Andrew J. Parise Cedarhurst as part of the Lawrence-Cedarhurst American Legion Post 339 Veterans Day ceremony on Sunday, Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. The John J. Oliveri Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1582 will also hold its ceremony at its memorial at 259 Doughty Blvd. in Inwood at the identical time.
Veterans Day, once known as Armistice Day that commemorated the end of World War I in 1918, in the 11th month on the 11th day at the 11th hour, now honors all military persons who served in the U.S. armed forces.
Landi Sr. went in as a private and completed his military duty as a Sgt. 1st class who was awarded the Bronze Star. It is given for either heroic achievement, heroic service, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service in a combat zone. He also earned combat ribbons for each operation he fought in, including some of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific Theater in the Aleutian Islands off the coast of Alaska such as Attu, Kiska and Shemya, and the Battle of Okinawa.
“He never talked about the war,” said Landi, a military veteran who served in the Air Force in Vietnam. “We’re here because what these guys gave up, lives, careers. I know it changed them.”
Born in Hoboken and raised in Brooklyn, Landi Sr. lived in Rockaway and East Rockaway and was a cook who worked in many places, his son said. “His specialty was Italian food and he made the best pancakes you would ever taste,” Landi said. “I spent time in the kitchen with him and I can’t copy what he did.”
Woodmere resident Ann DeMichael, will install a brick for her father, Joseph Mazzitelli, an Italian immigrant who enlisted when the war began and was in the Army’s 156 Infantry, 87th Division and fought the Nazis in Europe, DeMichael said. After the war he became a U.S. citizen. He was sworn in as a citizen at huge ceremony in Central Park,
“When I think of my father, we moved into Far Rockaway and everyone was out in the streets banging pots and pans, everyone was so happy [when the war ended],” said DeMichael, 80. “This is just a great thing to have your father’s name in brick.”
She is also having a brick installed in honor of Frank Giordonello, the brother of Richard, her second husband. Frank was a Marine who served during the Korean War. He died on Sept. 8, at 87.
A brick already exists for Private 1st Class Dennis DeMichael, who served with the 101st Airborne, the brother of her first husband, who was killed at 20 on March 11, 1967 in the Vietnam province of Binh Dinh near the Cambodian border. He lived in Inwood.