By Marsha M. Brown
In the past week I’ve paid close attention to every bit of news, commentary and reference to the recently released movie ‘American Sniper’. Regardless of the networks I surfed on TV who either lean to the left or to the right…it didn’t matter…once you heard of Chris Kyle’s character, his love of country, family, fellow Navy Seals and soldiers alike you couldn’t help but be proud of him and heart broken that his life was taken by all accounts here at home while helping a fellow vet. Hearing him respond to questions during interviews prior to his death and only months after returning home from four tours of duty made you wonder what it would have been like to meet him in person and thank him. His skill, his dignity and his commitment to protect his brothers and sisters were clearly evident; his eyes were focused, determined and sincere and when asked by the interviewers about the number of lives he had taken in order to save the lives of American troops, he stood up for himself and the task for which he was obligated to carry out. More than once, his loyalty to our country was evident and his desire to do his job to the best of his ability…no matter what…brought me to tears.
We haven’t seen the movie but if you’re familiar with the story about Chris Kyle from reading his book, seeing the movie or by just paying attention to the stories of those who knew him, you’d have learned that apparently he was all about protecting the lives of the men and women who served with him…his family at home and you and I as Americans too.
War movies are tough to watch and the more realistic ones like “American Sniper” and “We Were Soldiers” especially that encompass teachable moments and a closer depiction of combat or that more honestly portray the real circumstances our troops face are hard for all of us to take in but need to be seen. The essence of war…glamorizing the actors who never served our nation or fired a shot at another human being don’t have a clue…none of us do. Because when it comes right down to it, it’s obvious the horror of war can’t be felt if you haven’t been through it yourself first hand.
When I accompany my sweetie pie Billy to an appointment at a VA Medical facility, I observe the people and things around me. I notice the veteran vehicles that sometimes gently compete for the same designated handicapped parking spots; I notice that when they get out of their cars they’re often times using prosthetic legs and arms and that their wife or significant other tenderly helps them transition from vehicle to a wheelchair or walker or crutches; I notice that sometimes they have burns or disfigurements about their face, arms and neck; I see them grimace with pain as they make their way to the door and I wonder what they must have gone through. I wonder if they were hurt in battle or if they’ve suffered illness as a result of their service to our country. Whenever possible, I thank them and tell them how grateful and proud I am of them. Sometimes their hands are thin and weathered when they reach out to shake my hand for acknowledging them and showing them respect.
Veterans are proud people. They don’t always want a fuss made over them and I know that but they do like to know that we acknowledge their sacrifice and that what they have seen, heard and done is looked upon with heartfelt appreciation…not challenge and or condemnation.
My suggestion is for all of us to watch the History Channel more often, watch movies like ‘American Sniper’ and another recently released ‘Unbroken” about Louis “Louie” Zamperini another American hero from WWII that more adequately portray what our men and women have been through, then thank God for all who came home…then mourn those who didn’t. Remember our P.O.W. and M.I.A.’s…remember always and forever their suffering for you and me and those we love…and remember their wives and children and parents who feel their loss every single day.
There are heroes all around us…many live and work beside you all across Dare County. Many will never tell you the stories that link them to the past…they are too sad…too difficult…too painful and because of that…love the veterans you know. Show them that they are all equally important…they have served us well for decades…they have earned the respect that we’re often too busy to show them. It’s long overdue.
If you know someone who may be a veteran but you aren’t sure…ask them if they’ve served and if they say “Yes”, tell them of your gratitude and that no matter how difficult life is at times…its better for you regardless…because of them.
Remember…V.F.W. District 1 Members…you and your spouse are invited to attend a luncheon then a meeting at Kelly’s Outer Banks Restaurant & Tavern this Sunday, January 25, 2015 @ 1:00 PM. The meal is very fairly priced at $12.00 per person and all are urged to attend. Come, enjoy the fellowship, hear updates as related to the V.F.W. overall and renew your interest and participation in supporting your fellow comrades.
Also, the monthly meeting of the American Legion Post 26 will take place at 302 W. Lake Dr., Kill Devil Hills 9.5 MP west side by-pass, 2nd building behind Gift Garden (formerly T-Tops). The meeting begins at 12:00 Noon and lunch will be served.
God bless our veterans and their families. God bless America and all she stands for. Thank you for reading GIG LINE and for any and all support you can offer to our heroes who will never be repaid adequately for the debt they are owed.
Until next time, be happy, be safe and be proud. We have much to do for our vets…please join in. Thank you for reading GIG LINE. As always…stay tuned.