Marsha M. Brown
Gig Line will be short this time…short and to the point. It’s not because I’m at a loss for words…never or very rarely am I ever at a loss for words. But I want this column in particular to be brief and to stick both in the heads of those who have served in Vietnam and in the hearts of those who haven’t.
As I understand it, October is Agent Orange Awareness Month. The acknowledgement was established to remind us of the sacrifice of all of our military men and women who have been exposed to Agent Orange and who served in Vietnam reminding us that not only did we lose 58,000 veterans during the war but that countless men and women who served ‘boots on ground’ in Vietnam have suffered greatly ever since their exposure to the chemical. Trust me…I know.
After having been married the majority of my life to a Vietnam veteran, I can relate to the suffering his exposure to Agent Orange caused prior to his death this past July. I can relate from having first hand up front and personal knowledge of what other vets who served there have told me about what they have endured also. It goes without saying that they went through hell while they were there; then treated like crap when they came home, never having experienced the heroes welcome they deserved; then over time, they came to realize that because of their service their bodies carry the effects of exposure each and every day often times undetectable to many.
October is a time when God utilizes His special palate of warm colors: orange, yellow, gold, green and brown; when the aroma of cinnamon, apples and nutmeg fill the air and when the sky takes on a different hue. It’s when our communities slow down from a busy and often times hard summer; when holidays are coming fast and memories flood our mind’s eye; when our hearts embrace the love of others or mourn their profound loss.
During the balance of such a beautiful month, I pray that when you smell the hearty autumn scents and hear and feel the crunch of fallen leaves beneath your feet that you remember, think about and pray for our Vietnam veterans and all veterans who through their devoted service to our country were exposed to Agent Orange.
Column space in the Coastland Times is precious to me. It gives me an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to our veterans across the world, who have honored us, protected us and exceeded expectations serving in our United States military. You have kept America, preserved our rights and stood tall, strong, tough and resilient even in the hardest of times. And you are admired and loved by so many more people than you even know. Plain and simply put…you are our backbone! Sincerely…we thank you all.
For those of you who have served our great United States of America military anywhere that the chemical we know as ‘Agent Orange’ was utilized, please consider an Agent Orange screening by contacting our local Veteran Service Officer Rhonda Creef at (252 475-5604 to set up an appointment or referral. In the meantime, God bless you and thank you. If you have a question or would like to share your thoughts, please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call my cell: (252) 202-2058.
Until next time…be happy, be safe and be proud because we sure as heck are proud of you! Stay tuned.