Joanne Lu contributed to this report.
Today the state Senate paid tribute to the South Carolinians who gave their lives in military service this past year. In a joint legislative luncheon and ceremony that preceded that recognition, families of the 15 fallen soldiers shared with legislators the legacy their loved ones left behind.
Among them, Johanna Cassidy of Greenville expressed her appreciation for the state’s recognition of her husband, Army Captain Michael Cassidy.
Chris Romine traveled from Kentucky to honor his stepfather, Army Staff Sergeant Vincent Ashlock of Fort Mill, who dismantled roadside bombs for the National Guard. This, after a life in the military and two recent tours in Iraq.
Romine especially appreciates the recognition being given to families at this event.
I’m a stepchild. He raised me from 2 years old, but with the military, I couldn’t even get a box for my flag. So, it’s really nice to be able to come to something like this even though he’s not my biological father.
The Fallen Soldier Ceremony and Luncheon was initiated by Republican Senator Jake Knotts in 2006 and has been an annual event ever since.
James Smith, a House Democrat, says he admires the senator’s determination to host this event every year. Smith is also an active reservist.
South Carolinians are devoutly patriotic. They believe in the ideals of this country. South Carolina is a bedrock for those ideals in this nation of ours. It is seen in its people, and in the actions that they take, and in the numbers that are not equaled among the other states in the nation, in terms of the numbers of retirees, those serving–either active duty, National Guard, reservists.
The 15 soldiers commemorated today bring the number of fallen soldiers honored at these events to 61.