A parent's death makes a severe impact on a child, that then affects their own children and their children's children, and so on. First Lieutenant Russo went to UCLA, he was a track and football star. He met his wife Olga at UCLA. After graduation, they married and they started a family. He was killed in action on April 3rd, 1945 on Luzon. His death changed many lives. He left behind a wife and his one year old son. Lieutenant Russo named his son after himself, even though his Father Salvatore offered him a substantial amount of money to name the baby Salvatore after him. Lieutenant Mario Russo chose to name his son Mario after himself, in fear he may never return from war. The name Mario and photographs in a frame, were the only thing Lieutenant Russo could ever give his son. He died a hero yet he left behind loved ones now broken damaged and confused.
Little did he know that he was leaving behind a legacy as well. His future grandchildren and great grandchildren would never see him, only the photos that hang on their walls. They will only know him through the photos and stories shared by family but he is still so much a part of them. The more I learn about my grandfather Mari, he reminds me of my own children. They have followed in his footsteps in so many ways. The name Mario was a great gift to leave your son, but your family and your legacy was an even greater gift. We will continue to share our photos of our hero with the legacy he left behind. Lieutenant Russo lives on through us all. I just can't imagine how different my life would be if my grandfather was there when my father grew up. I am grateful for the photos and the stories I can share with my babies. Having these photos has taught me to appreciate and savor the past through images. I am thankful for all he has given us; veterans, intelligence, physical and mental strength, athletics, track stars. He now has great great grandchildren who will know and remember their hero through the photographs that hang on the wall those pictures tell it all. With all that was given I sit back and watch my own daughter with her baby and her sacrifice she gives for our country. Always remember .....All gave some, some gave all. So much sacrifice for our freedom. We all have a story to tell through photographs on the wall!
Rhonda Childers is a Military Mom and a portrait photographer in the Bay area and Central Valley, California. It is her dream to make a positive difference in this world by sharing herself and stories while creating and capturing new ones with others. 100 years from now her legacy will live on through photographs and the positive difference she makes in the life of many children.