By Marsha M. Brown
Every year Dare County folks come together to attend special tributes and celebrations to honor and to thank our veterans. Fortunately and especially over the last several years the days just prior to and the week following Veteran’s Day has become extremely busy with activities and acknowledgements across the Outer Banks – all focused on our service men and women and their immeasurable contribution to our nation and to our American way of life.
Typically from Manteo to Hatteras Village to the northern Outer Banks and throughout the week following Veteran’s Day, speeches are made, tears are shed and hugs are passed around amidst crowds of all ages. In addition to prideful descriptions of those who have done so much for all of us for centuries come stories of valor and heroism and the ultimate sacrifice of loved ones who have gone before.
In particular, four years in a row between November 2011 and 2014, Manteo First Assembly (across from Outer Banks Hotline Thrift Store) has presented a ‘Salute to Veterans’ program described as ‘unique’ to say the least. In addition to the beautiful patriotic music, elaborate staging and set created primarily by Pastor Steve Smith along with period costumes, the theatrics have played an integral part of the program. Featuring local veterans and veteran family members as actors have reminded us of our soldier’s love of country, for each other as military brothers and sisters and for family members back home that desperately miss them. The plays have touched on that aspect of combat, fear, faith and a much needed and deserved peace after realizing firsthand the lessons of war…and the sanctity of peace.
Newsflash! Through a collective decision last fall, the event that has always been held on the Saturday night just prior to Veteran’s Day, has been moved so that the church’s tribute to and celebration of our American heroes will instead take place on Saturday, May 28, 2016 at 7:00 PM (Memorial Day weekend)!
It’s true while this is only January, we’re all busy folks and our calendar dates fill in quickly! Please make a note now so as not to forget…because this will be an event you won’t want to miss! One of our local wives will step out and for the first time address the audience and fellow veteran families about her life loving a Vietnam veteran and life today without him. You will be moved and inspired to hear how faith played a major role in their life and your children and grandchildren will grasp the meaning of Memorial Day as never before. There is never an admission fee and child care is available as well. Please ‘save the date’ – everyone who is involved in this event does it with love and once you come and see what united members of faith do in your honor, (as veterans), you will leave more proud than when you arrived. That is a promise.
The 440th Dare County issued Veteran I. D. Card was just issued a few days ago and between the upcoming events throughout the spring and summer, we hope to grow that number much closer to 1,000. Prior to and in between annual events across Dare County, we will offer opportunities to obtain your ‘CARD’ at local ACE HARDWARE stores, so please note schedules posted on their website and at their various store locations. In the meantime, you are welcome to call me (252) 202-2058 so that we can make arrangements to meet you and dispense your’ CARD’ so you can enjoy the benefits of business discounts across the Outer Banks.
Also, if you are a business owner and wish to establish a specific day/time to allow us to issue the discount cards to veterans onsite, please contact Billy or myself to make arrangements. All a Dare County resident veteran has to bring is their DD-214 showing Honorable Discharge and their local Driver’s License in order to get one. No copies of documents are made or kept and the process takes 10-15 minutes. That’s it! So please spread the word to everyone you know. Just the other day a veteran told me how much he has used his ‘CARD’ to save money and how proud he is that veterans are acknowledged in this special way here.
Until next time, know as veterans how much we love and appreciate you; know that without you we wouldn’t have the protection, safety and peace that we have on a daily basis in America…you are our peace keepers…our heroes and the men and women we look up to each and every day. Thank you to all of you and if you haven’t heard it recently…or often enough…WELCOME HOME. God bless you all and stay tuned!