To All Our Veterans, We Salute and Thank You – Personal Commentary

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By Mark A. Leon

Today is a day of reflection and love for hundreds of thousands who have served or waited for their loved ones to return home from domestic and foreign lands.? It is a day we all experience in a different way. For some, it is filled with sadness of the loss of a loved one or happiness because of the sacrifices made to preserve freedom throughout the world.

Whether you reflect on this day in silence or cheer, take a moment to remember. Remember the honor, dedication, sacrifice and commitment.

As a history major in my undergraduate days, I had the honor of studying under some of the most knowledgeable academic minds on the topic of history of the United States and foreign nations. I have taken that knowledge with me as I continue to see the world around me.

Each day, I wear the military dog tags of my father. He is still healthy and vibrant and I value every moment I spend with him; but I display it with pride for the dedication and commitment he gave to his family and his country. I may not have been born at the time or even a thought in his mind, but I know somewhere in Europe, he thought about his future and now that future is the present and I am a very important part of it.

When I think of Tim and Necia and their three children, I cannot help but sentimental at the story of their love. Two Air Force specialists who met in basic training, fought for the lives of others thousands of miles away and found their way into each others arms amid bloodshed and tears years later. Now as I see the unconditional love they provide to their children, I can only smile and embrace how I am fortunate to have them in my life as well.

Two years ago, I lost my Uncle Murray Passo, one of the most decorated World War II soldiers I have ever known.? He was a quiet, but proud man, who rarely spoke of the war, his injuries or the lives he saved stepping into open gunfire.? As I uncovered his medals and pictures, I saw a story unfold.? Though most don’t share the terrors they faced, we know and I am thankful we have a day dedicated to them.

To my father, Necia, Tim, Murray and some many more that have affected our lives, thank you. I will continue to keep you in my thoughts and my life.

To Our Heroes – Emotional Military Reunion, Proposal and Family Videos that Will Make You Cry

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“He called her on the road; From a lonely, cold hotel room; Just to hear her say I love you one more time; But when he heard the sound; Of the kids laughing in the background; He had to wipe away a tear from his eye; A little voice came on the phone; Said, “Daddy when you coming home?”; He said the first thing that came to his mind; I’m already there”Lonestar

We go to movies, read comics, watch television shows of characters of supernatural strength and odd superpowers and call them heroes.? Every day, hundreds of thousands of children, wives and husbands go to bed alone while their heroes are in foreign lands protecting our freedoms.? We wanted to show our appreciation for their sacrifices by sharing some very emotional videos or gratitude, reunion and love

To all our military around the world, we thank you and think about you every day.

Disclaimer:? Have some tissues available.? You will need them.

In war, tragedy, disaster and yearning, the one foundation that leads us to the light is the ability to always love.? It is the most powerful weapon of humanity and one that keeps us holding on.? We hope these videos remind you of the power of love.

December 7 – Pearl Harbor Day (75th Anniversary) – We Remember the 177 Charleston County Casualties of World War II

To those that lived it, for those that have followed history, studied it and reflected on its importance, World War II will forever be a foundation in this nations history.? This global conflict became personal to the United States and was the direct catalyst that led to 16.1 million Americans serving in this war of global freedom on December 7, 1941.

As Franklin Delano Roosevelt stated in his address to the nation on December 8, “Yesterday, December 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” as he declared a state of war. – Complete Speech

As we look to our young students and the Citadel, many of which will turn to a career in the military, our men and women serving at the Charleston Naval Weapons Station and the historic military significance of Charleston, we take personal pride in the freedoms we were given 240 years ago.? To those that have served and sacrificed, those that came home to hold their children once again and those that sleep in tents thousands of miles away from their loved ones to secure our liberties, we are indebted to you.

Each and every man and woman that holds the flag of freedom has chosen to be part of something bigger than themselves and there are not words to describe what they mean to us and how they will remain in our thoughts, prayers and actions.

On this day, let us remember the 171 Charleston County men and women that lost their lives protecting our freedom during World War II.? Your names and legacies will never be forgotten.

death2Full List of Dead and Missing Military from South Carolina from World War II



The Importance of Memorial Day in Charleston – Look back at 2015

By Mark A. Leon

It was a quiet morning on the Folly Beach pier.? Fisherman, young and old were preparing for the Memorial Day fishing tournament and the site of patriotism flew all the way to the ocean.? The stars and stripes ordained each side of the pier as you walked to the Edge of America.? Waters were calm, joggers were leaving their footprints in the sand and the wind penetrated the souls of the flags, reminding us of our gift of freedom.

Memorial Day in Charleston holds a special meaning for active military, veterans and families and the entire neighborhood.

This afternoon at Marion Square, the community was greeted with an orchestra show of old and new military themed tunes.? Some brought back old memories of younger days at the USO dances, while others closed their eyes and took in the soft soul wrenching sounds of Band of Brothers.

As I listened to the band belt out 75 years of patriotic tunes, I watched young boys and girls play catch, Frisbee or dig in the dirt.? It reminded me that on this day, we remember those that secured the future and safety of our next generation.

Charleston is a rich port town, whose military ties run so deep, they are a part of our foundation.? From the H.L. Hundley to the USS Yorktown; Charleston Naval Shipyard to the Boeing Military Support; The Citadel to Fort Sumter, Charleston’s heritage is one of pride and community.


It was with a deepened heart that I watched veterans of foreign wars listen to the sounds that gave them comfort during trying times.? I also knew, that as they listened, they remembered their brothers and sisters that fell as part of the ultimate sacrifice.

They gave their freedoms that we and our children and children’s children can secure a future safe from destruction, tyranny and prejudice.

Throughout the peninsula and surrounding areas, families showed their support with flags draping from porches all throughout the Lowcountry.

This week left me with a sense of pride and an opportunity to say thank you, Charleston.

USS Yorktown Photo provided by Minta Pavliscsak
USS Yorktown Photo provided by Minta Pavliscsak


Memorial Weekend on Folly Beach
Memorial Weekend on Folly Beach


Marion Square