By Joseph Domelowicz Jr.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher Brienza was a favored son of Everett, a standout scholar-athlete during his academic career at Everett High School, a devoted son, loyal brother and a friend to all he knew.
He is also now an American hero.
PO2 Chris Breinza tragically lost his life while serving his country on March 2, 2017, in an accident at his home base in Pensacola, Florida. He was just 22 years old.
Monday’s annual Memorial Day celebration at Glenwood Cemetery became a reminder for all, that those who volunteer to serve in our armed forces risk their lives, for the good of our country and that risk is real, even when it is not a time of war.
This year’s Memorial Day ceremony was, by design, a chance for the city he called home for much of his life, to come out and say goodbye to PO2 Brienza – to remember the person he was and to properly place him among other hometown heroes of years gone by.
In addition to the formal remarks from State Representative Joseph McGonagle, State Senator Salvatore DiDomenico and Mayor Carlo DeMaria, the speakers in this year’s ceremony included members of Brienza’s family, his friends and his shipmates.
The U.S. Navy authorized seven of Brienza’s crew mates to attend the ceremony in Everett, to ensure that he received full honors among his family and friends for his sacrifice.
The active duty U.S. sailors on hand on Monday included Petty Officer 2nd Class Jessica Riley, Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan Moreno, Petty Officer 2nd Class Emily Pierce, Petty Officer 2nd Class Steven Jenkins and Petty Officer 1st Class Dave Dylewicz.
Superintendent of Schools Frederick Foresteire recalled the young scholar athlete and class leader who graduated from Everett high school just a few short years ago and then quickly enlisted in the Navy to serve his country. Mayor Carlo DeMaria choked back tears of administration for Brienza and all soldiers and Chris’ father Harry and sister Michelle recalled the son and brother they have lost.
Memorial Day is a time for recalling the sacrifices others have made for our freedom. Often we reflect on the bravery and heroism exhibited on the battlefield. However, in Everett this year, we are reminded that all of those who serve are heroes and that we should all be grateful for their service.