During the Memorial Day Holiday weekend, a few members of the Johnston County Marine Corps League Carry-On Detachment 1236 visited seven different cemeteries in the Clayton area to pay respect to the fallen.
Members and some of their families placed American Flags on the graves of Veterans from every branch of military service and placed pennies on their headstones as well. A coin left behind on the edge of a gravestone implies to family members and friends of the deceased that someone else has visited and left a token of commemoration while paying respect to their loved ones.
While visiting one particular cemetery off of Castleberry Road, the group members unknowingly met Marine Corps Veteran Leonard O’Neal that fought in the Vietnam War from 1966-1970. O’Neal shared his amazing story of survival when he was severely injured from an explosion and how everyone was treated when they returned stateside.
“You can’t make this stuff up. It was divine intervention that Leonard was put into our path today as we showered him with love and support, laughed and listened to his story while sharing ours as Marines do,” said spokesperson Lewis W. Rice III. “It also turned out that it was his families land and members of his family that were buried in the cemetery and Leonard was actually a first cousin to two of our Marine Corps League Detachment members, brothers John and Chester Whitley.”