By Marsha M. Brown
This column that I have written for almost seven years now started because of the respect I had for my husband and Vietnam veteran, Billy. I wrote it initially as a one-time tribute to his service, his love of country and his undeniable patriotism and when I did, I thought that was that. He was happy and proud, and that made me happy as well as the response from others who read the first ‘article’ back in March 2012.
Since that time a lot has happened…my GIG LINE article evolved into a weekly ‘column’ and through Gig Line, I’ve met wonderful veterans and their family members; attended celebrations of our veterans lives following their passing; been key speaker at several American Legion and V.F.W. events, etc. and I’ve grown in my overall understanding of our veteran population…their thoughts…their experiences…their heartaches…and their indelible memories. Because of my ongoing involvement, my membership in the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council; attendance at V.F.W. meetings; correspondences through email and snail mail too I’ve received from the public, I feel their pain, further appreciate our veterans, realize how absolutely critical our Armed Forces are to our overall well-being; supporting our nation’s historical past, present and future; our safety; our back up as in national crisis such as COVID-19 and I will always support all branches of the service – their magnificent status…their needs and their branch goals. Always…it has been my pleasure and honor just to be involved…just to be in their midst.
That being said…while I typically say my piece, voice my opinion and ‘stake my claim’ on a variety of topics, I’ve never totally ‘cut loose’ yet, holding back somewhat out of concern I’d potentially offend faithful readers…but, I’m over that. Life is fragile…and our strength as a nation is unmatched but through this pandemic, we’ve seen our vulnerability too…and I think we have to be more on the offense than ever before. So…from here on out, I apologize in advance if I unintentionally offend someone with different views…but you know what? It’s okay…if I do…I do! And if someone reads GIG LINE and feel it’s no longer their ‘cup of tea’, thank you for the time you did read it! I’m good with that too.
Whether someone is a writer of poetry, songs, a technical writer or they write about medicine or grants or they want to be a journalist or on TV or a news commentator…it doesn’t matter…whatever their goals…they should be based on integrity…on telling the truth…on stating the facts as they know them…on professionalism and in good taste. They should be real and sincere and speak from the heart and hopefully, through their work they will not offend or insult or frustrate the reader but rather influence them to consider the situation, evaluate the topic at hand with a clear head and ultimately having considered both sides of the debate and go from there as to how, why and what they believe.
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Warning! I make no apologies for future reference…when it comes to veterans, religion, even politics and other relative topics regarding the world in which we live, I will write the way this ‘ole girl sees it…I will maintain my style…my ‘folksy’…little bit country spin…and with my personal downhome opinion…let it out. So fair warning…I love you all honestly…I care that you reading GIG LINE and I’d be so happy that you continue, but I have to do what my heart tells me to and I have very strong opinions about some things that I need to express. So…from here on out, just know this…I will always be fair, I will not misrepresent…conjure up schemes, tricks or falsehoods (nor have I ever) to get my point across but I will lay it out there and you can decide for yourself if you want to keep reading or tear out the page (usually Page 4 if you get The Coastland Times newspaper in hand rather than an online subscription) and throw it in the trash.
My husband lived every day of his life believing in the Lord; he wasn’t a believer who crammed it down other people’s throats…rather, he chose to treat folks the way he thought the Lord wanted him to being kind, helpful, thoughtful, generous to others and he loved not only his Father in Heaven but this country…his ‘brother and sister’ fellow veterans…this nation of our great United States of America, his family and his friends. Billy believed in standing tall, standing up right for justice and decency and to look out for the underdog; he showed courage; he believed in our red, white and blue and our symbols of freedom that we take for granted too darned many times. He was a man among men – adored by me, looked up to, loved and inspired by his children and grandchildren and respected by his co-workers, staff and church family and friends.
There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t hear the news and wonder what Billy would say if he were here. I can’t help it…he was into the news especially when it came to the support of our military, the offense of and defense of our borders, our care of Americans…he was for our law enforcement and against back stabbers, those who undermine others to get themselves ahead; those who would pull the rug out from under you or spread false statements in order to create havoc in your life; he detested fake and phony. Plain and simple…my Billy would ‘have a fit’ as many of us Southerners say.
My view on things is this…I’m frankly sick of the baloney spewed out of the mouths of people who think many of us are too dumb to know the difference…too lazy to consider both sides, too gullible to take the time to figure it out for ourselves…and too eager to jump on the band wagon against someone we don’t personally know just to follow someone else’s lead. This is the deal folks…I don’t think for a second that everyone will agree with me…but I was raised to think for myself…not to allow myself to be brainwashed on matters that I didn’t feel in my heart worthy given all the information on which to base my opinion.
So…for now sit tight but buckle up for future GIG LINE columns. My parents, my sweetie pie Billy and other people I love and respect very much (to the 9’s) have shown me always said, “If you’re gonna do a job, do it right!” Big changes are here upon us now and are coming…hopefully for good that you will either embrace or fiercely rebuke…when I lean on the Lord for guidance as to what I put on paper for GIG LINE, I do it because it’s too important to waste my time, your time and I don’t pussy foot. Regardless, I will do and write as I am led to and I will continue to stand for the principals that I believe in.
Until next time…be happy, be safe and be proud! Please contact either Patty O’Sullivan, Dare County Veteran Service Officer (252) 475-5604 and leave a detailed message…she checks her messages faithfully and she will call you back to follow up or email her through [email protected] or you’re welcomed to call my cell: (252) 202-2058 or email me: [email protected] Remember too…regardless of our personal opinions on matters of life…I love you. God bless and stay safe! Stay tuned.