Merrick’s Memorial Day 2018 Grand Marshal, Louis G. Saraceni

A young, Louis G. Saraceni
A young, Lousi G. Saraceni

Louis Saraceni was born in 1941 in Orsogna, Italy, a small town on the Adriatic Coast near a tall mountain, La Maiella. When the German’s occupied the town because of its proximity to the mountain, Lou’s family had to leave their home and live in a grotto. When the war was over and they went back to their house, everything was gone.

In 1955 when Louis was fourteen, he and his father immigrated to the United States. They lived with a relative who sponsored them in Astoria, Queens, where many of their other townspeople settled, until they could afford their own apartment. They worked hard for three years so they could send for his mother and sister.

Lou was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1963. He trained in Fort Polk, LA and was later sent to Fort Riley, KS. He had to learn to eat hominy grits instead of his mother’s homemade pasta and tomato sauce. It was while he was home on leave that he met his future wife, Mattia, at a dance at the Cresthaven Country Club in Whitestone, Queens. They both loved dancing to Latin American music. In the spring of 1965 he was deployed with the 1st Infantry Division (The Big Red One) to Viet Nam. They were the first to land there. With the aid of helicopters, they partook in search and destroy operations and cleared the peninsula so that the rest of the American troops could land safely. They were constantly barraged with sniper fire.

In November of 1965 he was transferred to the U.S. Army Personnel Center in Oakland, CA where he received an Honorable Discharge with a Good Conduct Medal, a Viet Nam Service Medal, a Combat Infantry Man’s Badge and a Marksman (Rifle) and Expert (Rifle) Badge. U

Louis G. Saraceni, Today
 Louis G. Saraceni, Today

pon his return home, he resumed his employment in the construction industry and later became a foreman. Many years later, a day after the World Trade Center disaster, he was assigned to work there for six months rebuilding sewer lines, gas lines and restoring electrical power to the area.

In October of 1967 he and Mattia were married. They bought a house in Lynbrook, NY where their first son, Anthony, was born and in 1974 they moved to North Woodmere where their second son, Sal, was born. They moved to Merrick in 2003 after their children had graduated and married. They are the proud grandparents of four grandchildren: Louis, 2003, and Nicole, 2008 born to Anthony and Joanne; and Dominic, 2005, and

Gabrielle, 2007 born to Sal and Maria.

Louis retired from his job at the end of 2010 having been a member of his union for fifty years, most of that time with the same employer. Unfortunately on December 28, 2010, he was diagnosed with renal carcinoma. In 2011 his left kidney was removed and he participated in a clinical trial at Sloan Kettering. After five years a small tumor was removed in his abdomen. In 2017 they found a small mass in his lung. Because it is too close to the heart, surgery was not an option. Lou continues the battle with the help of drugs administered as part of the clinical trial at Sloan Kettering.

Louis loves spending time with his grandchildren and family and friends. But his closest companion that is always by his side is not his wife! It's his dog Peppi, who is always content just to sit with him and never ever complains!!! And he is proud to be a member of the American Legion.


Courtesy of the Saraceni Family



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