By Marsha M. Brown
A big thank you is due to Sandy Scarborough and her Staff at the Dare Center for the very nice luncheon that was held in honor of our veterans on Friday, November 9th. The 2nd Annual Veterans Celebration ceremony was again, a great success!
Our understanding is that last year the first luncheon was initiated by the Monarch Beach Club. Both events now have featured very special entertainers who performed beautiful musical renditions ringing bells in perfect unison. It was a very touching tribute.
For anyone who hasn’t visited the Dare Center, it’s a beautiful facility. The atmosphere was attractive and inviting and no doubt about it, Sandy and her Staff went out of their way to make sure everyone felt at home. The local Ladies Auxiliary of the American Legion manned the welcome table and greeted the veterans and their families who came. Each veteran was given an event program, a Health Care Benefits Overview 2012 booklet provided by the Rural Health Care Initiative Team (Jeff Pearson – Hampton VA Medical Center and his Staff was also there) and a Dare County Veterans Advisory Council post card providing Council contact information.
A patriotic red, white and blue theme embellished the tables where everyone was seated. Those who worked at the Dare Center or who volunteered to help bustled around making sure everyone was comfortable and attended to. The program began when Sandy welcomed everyone and introduced Clarence Lewis, Commander of American Legion Fort Raleigh Post 26 who thanked all veterans present for their service to our country. During his opening remarks and much to my surprise Commander Lewis called me up to the podium to present me with a beautiful framed “Honorary Membership of the Fort Raleigh Post 26 of The North Carolina American Legion”.
Now folks, if you read GIG LINE, you know this ole’ girl is never at a loss for words I never stop talking…or at least that’s what Billy says! J But, this time? I was so surprised, proud and grateful that I could hardly speak. The beautiful framed prize said, “In recognition of her numerous works of citizenship to this Community and her assistance in helping Dare County Veterans in both action and print. It gives us great pleasure to proclaim… Seriously…I was stunned. After mumbling a few inept words about my love for Dare County veterans, I hugged Clarence and sat down. I was taken aback. Billy was grinning from ear to ear, so I thought he was in on the surprise, but come to find out; they had kept it from him as well. In retrospect, I wish I had spoken more eloquently and thanked the American Legion – Post 26 properly. It was an honor to be recognized in that way but because it was totally unexpected, I was caught off guard. Now, because I’ve had a chance since then to collect myself, let me say this…
It is my sincere pleasure to work on behalf of veterans along with many others who want to work to honor you. Daddy served and retired U. S. Coast Guard and my sweetheart Billy; a U. S. Army Vietnam veteran initiated my desire to support service men and women everywhere. All of you, without exception, who have served or currently serve in our U. S. Military, deserve our thanks for maintaining our freedom!
I am grateful that the Coastland Times cares enough about you that they’re willing to print my lengthy GIG LINE weekly column faithfully; I am thankful to Mike Kelly who sees to it that veterans are always positioned in first place in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Nags Head every year; I appreciate that our local Applebee’s and others restaurateurs provide a meal at no charge to veterans on Veteran’s Day each year and I am thankful that our Dare County Board of Commissioners officially established our Veterans Advisory Council…for you, a very deserving group of unique people who represented our great United States of America honorably in the uniform of the branch you served.
The acknowledgement the Post 26 bestowed on me was to thank me but I am the one who is grateful.
Thank you veterans for accepting the responsibilities bestowed on you; for having stood tall under extreme pressure; for having forged ahead, not looking back until the deed – sometimes dastardly, but necessary – was done; for having to leave loved ones behind for unfamiliar territory and life threatening encounters and for all that you have done for the good of mankind.
Thank you veterans for the tears you have shed no doubt in private silence; for doing without; for your lack of rest; for the uncertain return to your wives and husbands and to your beloved America; for withstanding the hateful words that went against you for no good reason; for enduring ugly protests and anger for having simply doing your job to the best of your ability; thank you for forgiving those of us who have miserably failed to thank you and honor you for way too many years…unintentionally or not; thank you for thanking others who find joy in your honor.
The determination to show you respect, to lift you up, to count our blessings and to never forget your sacrifices is never ending. We are a grateful nation. Thank you for defending our mountains, prairies and oceans white with foam…thank you for your service…we applaud you all!
Write to me through [email protected]. Share with me your stories, thoughts and hopes for the future. In the meantime, be happy, be safe, be proud and until next time stay tuned…