By Marsha M. Brown
A special holiday is coming up soon folks when we’ll again remember, honor and celebrate the men and women who have served our great nation. Memorial Day on Monday, May 27th will again remind us of the unselfish, patriotic and incredibly brave warriors of peace who have blessed our country for centuries.
If you keep an eye out…you’ll see members of our local American Legion Fort Raleigh Post 26 of Kill Devil Hills manning tables that will be stationed at various businesses in Manteo, Nags Head and Kitty Hawk. If you stop by to see them, it will give you a chance to make a donation…however big, however small…and in turn they will offer you a keepsake artificial red poppy flower. If you do visit their booth, look into the Legion Member’s weathered face and you will see experience, dedication and loyalty. If you look into their eyes, you will see a story yet and maybe never to be told about their sacrifice, their trials and their love of country. You will realize that these veterans have put themselves in harms way, stood up for our freedoms and fought against oppressors for the good of us all…regardless of cost. These guys are special, unique and our heroes…each and every one of them. They may have manned submarines, helicopters, fighter jets, served as communication specialists, strategic planners, engineers, medics and former front line combat ground troops. You may never know what they did to serve you and me…but just know that they served…faithfully, courageously and honorably.
Maybe you could take your children, grandchildren, nephews and nieces. Maybe you could take your neighbor’s son or daughter, someone in your Sunday school class or a child that you coach…just try to take someone there to meet a veteran, make a donation if at all possible and to say ‘thank you’. Explain to your special little someone that the folks who man the booths with the little red flowers are still serving our country even today. Help them understand that some of the men they see may be white haired; or bent over; they walk with a cane or that they may sit in a wheelchair but they still proudly serve.
On the way to the place where our American Legion veterans will be stationed, talk to your relative or friend about respect for our flag, our military uniforms and the patriotic songs that they hear at major sporting events. Ask them to always love the country for which they’re a citizen and to always honor those who have fought to protect it. Tell them that the little red flowers are significant because it’s the “Flower of Remembrance”. Tell them about Colonel John McCrae, who was inspired to write a poem called In Flanders Fields about the loss of soldiers during World War I who had given their life for their country. Ask them to look it up on the Internet and envision what he was seeing at the time he wrote it. And if you will, please picture in your mind the row after row of white crosses that marked countless graves and the contrast of red poppies that grew in their midst across Flanders fields. Grasp it…take it all in for a second and understand the incredible sacrifice that has occurred through the years and even today.
Let whomever you take with you to The American Legion ‘poppy tables’ know that two ladies in the 1920’s were so deeply touched by Colonel McCrae’s poem that they initiated the sale of artificial poppies in order to help support the children orphaned as a result of the war and others . Tell them the ladies incredible act of kindness and with the help of The American Legion which influenced the popularity of the flower so much so that it resulted in a shortage of them. The good news is that the shortage created the need for more production by disabled veterans which in turn influenced the building of a factory in Pittsburgh, PA for not only the manufacturing of the artificial poppies but a facility that would meet various needs of veterans.
I’ve had the privilege to witness the dedication of the veterans who support the exchange of the little red flowers for donations and I can tell you plain and simple…’it ain’t no joke’ how seriously they take their commitment to the cause. It’s important to note too that the proceeds according to Wikipedia, “…have helped countless veterans and their widows, widowers and orphans over the years”. Further, that “The poppy itself continues to serve as a perpetual tribute to those who have given their lives for the nation’s freedom.”
Now folks, I’m asking if you could please (especially this year) support our veterans during Memorial weekend by actually seeking out their table/booth locations as follows:
Ace Hardware – Fri., May 24 & Sat., May 25 – 8 AM – 4 PM
Food-A-Rama – Fri., May 24 & Sat., May 25 – 10 AM – 4 PM
Piggly Wiggly – Fri., May 24 & Sat., May 25 – 10 AM – 4 PM
Dunes Restaurant – Sat., May 25 & Sun., May 26 – 8 AM – 12 PM
Stack ‘em High Pancakes – Sat., May 25 & Sun., May 26 – 8 AM – 12 PM
Walmart – Fri., May 24 & Sat., May 25 – 10 AM – 6 PM
Speaking of Walmart, it’s my understanding through our Dare County Veteran’s Service Officer Rhonda Creef that a spokesman of Walmart recently notified her that Walmart is looking to employ veterans on the Outer Banks.
Regarding Memorial Day Services – If you’re interested in attending one or all of the Memorial Day services on Monday, May 27th, please be cognizant of the fact that starting times may vary slightly as related to traffic etc. The locations are as follows:
Southern Shores Cemetery @ 9:00 AM
Austin Cemetery (Kitty Hawk Rd.) @ 10:00 AM
Manteo Cemetery @ 11:00 AM
Veteran’s Memorial (Downtown Manteo by old Manteo Courthouse) @ 11:30 AM
Kill Devil Hills Monument (Veterans Dr.) @ btw. 12:30 PM & 1:00 PM
On a final note for this GIG LINE, let me say this…our veterans on Memorial Day no doubt remember what they’ve been through for us…for American honor, for our American flag, and for our United States Constitution…so, we also need to remember them.
During Memorial Day weekend, please look for our American Legion veterans especially between Friday and Saturday primarily and Sunday at the Dunes Restaurant to show that we haven’t forgotten them. Take a few minutes to visit a ‘poppy’ booth, make a donation if you’re able…and even if you can’t give money to the cause, give your respect and let our veterans know that you appreciate what they’ve already done and are still doing today for you (us).
Thank you all for reading GIG LINE. I appreciate it more than I can say. If you have a question please call me on my cell: (252) 202-2058 or write to me at [email protected]. I’ll be thinking of you and all of our veterans until next time, so be happy, be safe, be proud and thank a veteran…literally and soon. Stay tuned…