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.
Last year 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.