Celebrating and commemorating our veterans. United States military veterans and their families.

Count Your Blessings – Gig Line #184


By Marsha M. Brown

Sometimes blessings come after heartfelt prayers bend God’s ear. Sometimes they come just as you hoped and imagined. And sometimes they come when you least expect them…through others…by a loved one’s touch…or even through words of a stranger.

Most of us wonder how much farther we can stretch a dollar…and why a half gallon of ice cream is no longer a r-e-a-l half gallon of ice cream…then, you make your way to the store and buy a can of corned beef. It will quickly become a hot, inexpensive meal once added to boiling water & potatoes. But, then you later realize that in the past one can of corned beef that was $2.00 or less is now over $7.00 a can…W-H-A-T? This can’t be! What the heck, you ask yourself. Surely the price is a mistake…there’s no way it could cost that much…not for just one little can of corned beef…could it? So, you double check your receipt and there it is in black and white…good heavens! You take a deep breath and realize the little can still requires diced potatoes, a small salad and maybe a roll to complete the meal…not so inexpensive after all! You’re frustrated and aggravated and eventually you sit down to start peeling your potatoes. You rehash it in your brain and rationalize that if you’d have gone out to eat (even at a fast food restaurant) you’d probably have spent double to three times that much. Finally you accept that things aren’t like they used to be in so many ways and you sulk a little…maybe because it dawns on you that you’re feeling for those who can’t even buy a can of corned beef…now that’s something to feel bad about.

A few days later you’re in the check out line at the store. To your left is a young woman next aisle over paying the cashier toward the groceries of a young mother in line behind her. The lady has a baby on her hip and a toddler at her side and she appears to be in need of some help. You’re struck by what you see and you can’t help but feel the goodness around you – witnessing firsthand the joy of giving, especially at this time of year and our remembrance of blessings come to life again.  

During this past week veterans were celebrated in greater numbers than ever before. Events, special deals, free meals and shows of kindness toward our veterans was abundant and business owners from one end of the Outer Banks to the other acknowledged our vets in various and creative ways. This ole girl? Can’t thank them enough! Can you believe it? Almost 20 separate well planned activities from one end of our County to the other took place – all for the purpose of showing off our veterans.

Speaking of feeling blessed…I had been invited to speak at the American Legion Post 288 in Coinjock on Veteran’s Day. As I stood at the podium, I looked out at heroes – each and every one. I stared at them and vice versa; their attire consisted of WWII hats and Vietnam Veteran hats, vests and jackets; some arrived at the Coinjock Veteran’s Memorial Park in cars, trucks, motorcycles and wheelchairs and I loved every one of them. While delivering my heartfelt thanks to them all, my eyes scanned their faces…most listened intently as I reminded them of their value to our nation and to each American they protected; I encouraged them to seek health care, file claims or at least seek advice to determine if they were eligible for health care etc.; I assured them they were in our prayers and they meant something very special to all of us; that they were a blessing to our American way of life; that I wanted to look them straight in the eye and tell them that they are embraced by strangers every single day and that their scars though not always visible are trails of sacrifice and I praised the Freedom Riders for standing together and especially for their fellow veterans; I acknowledged WWII, Korean, Vietnam and Afghanistan veterans who not only served on foreign soil and in combat but stateside throughout their military career…it took all of them to get the job done and I wanted them to know we thank God for them as well. They stood together…true and straight…or as straight as they could that day given skeletal challenges and when I told them all that I loved them…and that I meant it – they expressed their personal appreciation at the end of the service. Many greeted and thanked me for coming and I hugged each one that I could reach out to. The day couldn’t have been prettier…the sun was shinning…temperature ideal…but seeing the faces of our veterans made the day absolutely perfect.

Over the last few days I’ve heard and seen first hand the thankfulness of those who have served. Veterans haven’t been forgotten…and neither are we forgotten who love them. While sitting at the last meeting of the Dare County Veteran’s Advisory Council on Thursday, Nov. 19th, I studied the member’s faces and I smiled. They are driven as veterans to work individually and collectively toward a better ‘veteran’ tomorrow in Dare County and that is an understatement! They give of themselves unselfishly and eagerly.

It is true that life has changed in many ways…the can of corned beef…the less than a half gallon of ice cream…the intentional quest to dim the light of the Lord in our lives…but the power and the glory and the steadfast heroism, valor and courage of our determined U. S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and National Guard will see us through. We are blessed in spite of it all.

This time of Thanksgiving truly feel the love we as Americans…true Americans…have one for another. Look upon the brave with pride and thank God Almighty that our military men and women have taken the oath to protect, defend and serve the U.S. of A. at all costs. As you enjoy your Thanksgiving feast, hold hands as a family and friends and pray for our troops’ safety, divine intercession and for protection while executing the tasks before them. Pray for our law enforcement; rebuke the ill intended people who wish to hurt, destroy and kill innocent Americans, Christians and others. Pray that they too will know the peace of God and His love…the greatest gift of all.

My sweetie pie Billy & I are grateful to fellow Veterans Advisory Council members; for Chris Sawin, Barbara St. Amand, Kelli Harmon, Buddy Boyce, Carl Reiber, Jeff Slaker, Tim Willis and so many other good folks who support you; for our American Legion Post 26; for our Outer Banks V.F.W. Post 10950 and for our OBX Marine Corps League #1264; for all the businesses that signed on to discount goods and services for our Dare County veterans over the past few years.

Think about our veterans through this holiday. Think of those far, far from loved ones and home. Remember their discomfort, their challenges and their concern for each other. Dear Lord, keep them safe and bring them home to see, smell and enjoy another Thanksgiving Day. Remember also the many beautiful, strong Dare County women who have endured so much and who are now left to pick up the pieces alone; remind them that we are here…for them. Lift them up…be inspired by them…be thankful for those who press on and forward following their immeasurable loss…they are the remarkable and incredible wives (or husbands) of our veterans.

For now we have each other to hold hands with, to lean up against when the winds of change come upon us. We are tough…we are Americans…we know the difference between right and wrong…difference and indifference; consider our Fallen; our P.O.W. and M.I.A.; pray for our troops…pray for our policemen and women…for our firefighters and for those who stand for God. 

Together we can accomplish great and mighty things for our country and for each other.  Remember love is the greatest gift, so share the joy…spread the hugs…reach out to someone in need and you will feel the goodness more than your recipient. Holidays are tough for a lot of folks. If you know a veteran who needs a friend, please do what you can to help them or call Veteran Service Officer Rhonda Creef @ (252) 475-5604; another veteran or me (252) 202-2058 if we can be of help also.

Be happy, be safe and be proud! We wish you all a wonderful time with family and friends and we thank you from the bottom of our heart for reading GIG LINE. We love you all! God bless and Happy Thanksgiving! Until next time, stay tuned!

Contact the Editor

Marsha M. Brown has been writing a weekly Gig Line since 2012.  Marsha is the widow of Vietnam War, U.S. Army, veteran Billy Brown of Manteo, NC.  She was instrumental in establishing the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council and maintains an active role in the veteran community. You can reach Marsha with questions or suggestions at editor@giglineheroes.com.  Have a story to tell or a veteran to feature? She would love to hear from you!

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