By Marsha M. Brown
Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941 – a Sunday morning surprise attack by the Imperial Japan that annihilated 21 US warships including the USS Arizona and the USS Oklahoma, damaged or destroyed 347 aircraft and killed 2,403 Americans brings tears to our eyes today and likely forever. Those who perished and those who lived through it who remember in their very senior years the horrors of that day are due our endless respect and honor.
At times the History Channel and other program documentaries focus on and celebrate a survivor and greet them on relative sites where their devastating heartbreak took place. Veterans in their late 90’s and 100 years plus, speak clearly about their experiences and it becomes obvious how clear the images of war remain and often produce tears that freely stream down their weathered and wrinkled faces of experience. God bless our men and women who suffered and died and those who witnessed first-hand what we only hear or read about.
The other night I watched the story about a war veteran who cried when he looked upon the list of his shipmates who perished and another who cried when he spoke about all our veterans had gone through only to see the changes in the world as we see it today. His testimony and his tears literally broke my heart.
Despite the verbal conflicts we hear about constantly on TV, in newspapers/magazines and on social media, and battles fighting against suppression of religion and faith; we still have much to be thankful for this Christmas. As Christians and believers in Almighty God, His son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit we have the knowledge in our heart and deep within our soul that good overrides evil; that there is more good than evil in this world; that people love more so than hate; that kindness to others is evident even amongst strangers and when least expected; that black, white, red and yellow find goodness in each other…no matter what anyone says; that life after death is a promise God made when we honor Him, ask His forgiveness even for the dirtiest of deeds; that we have something to look forward to when our name “is called up yonder”.
We have a holy holiday that is so significant coming very soon and I’m personally going to take the opportunity to seek God’s will more than ever for the New Year. I will continue to pray my morning and nighttime prayers thanking Him for the blessings in my life…for the love my husband Billy and I shared for 48+ years, for our beautiful son and daughter, for our incredible four grandchildren and for all the goodness others have shown me in my life. I will thank Him for GIG LINE and how what started out as a one-time story about Billy’s coming home from serving with our US Army in Vietnam, has approached a ten-year stretch reaching out to and loving the veterans and their families who read this column and who have in turn touched my heart.
I’ll continue to thank the Lord for the blessing of our official word that we will see a dream of mine come true – to host ‘The Wall That Heals’ when it comes to the Outer Banks in November 2023. No doubt I’ll cry a lot the week it’s here just thinking about my Billy and all his brothers and sisters who went through so much and were shown nothing but resentment and harsh words/actions upon their coming home. ‘The Wall That Heals’ will be a big…no…HUGE honor to all the Vietnam Veterans and their families especially when it’s escorted by hundreds of bikers as it makes its way into Dare County. I so wanted to see it come to fruition while Billy was alive but maybe…just maybe he will be able to see it from Heaven. And if not, the Vietnam Veterans who are still with us will have the opportunity to visit it, read the names of their friends and see and feel what they mean to us…even now after all these years…we can still love on them and express a long overdue heartfelt, THANK YOU for their sacrifice and show them how much we love them.
Christmas time is a time of joy for our precious Savior’s birth; for the abundant blessings in our life; for prayers that have been answered; for the miracles we have witnessed in our and other’s lives; for healings; for forgiveness; for our military, our clergy, our good and loyal friends, and most of all…for LOVE because friends, LOVE is the greatest gift of all.
I, like many widows and widowers, (or anyone who has lost someone they love so much) feel the season and the loss of someone so dear in my life. I pray that the happy memories of love and affection, laughter, conversations over early morning coffee or at night before eyelids become heavy dominate the ever-present void without him.
He would put up the tree, untangle and string the lights. I would decorate it and the house throughout with handmade ornaments, wreaths, and garland. He would help me wrap packages and make the sausage balls. I would bake cookies, pies, and cakes. We were a team through and through and loving and living with my husband never became old, or boring or made me feel anything but happy, content and blessed beyond measure. Oh, how I miss him.
If you have a spouse or significant other, cherish them. Look more at their attributes, kindness toward you and not so much at their faults. Don’t try to change them…love them for who they were when you fell in love and for who they are – thank the Lord for their special qualities; celebrate that they love to hunt or fish or if they like to watch Gunsmoke or cop shows. Just be glad you still have them in your life.
Until next time, be healthy, safe, and happy. As a veteran, thank you for all you have done for us. If you were deployed and served in a war, we thank the Lord you came home. Think of something nice you could do for someone in need and do it and spread joy whenever you can. Times are hard for everyone these days, but gestures of friendship, concern, sharing a meal or just sitting on the porch with someone and talking about happy, good ole days doesn’t cost a dime.
If you’re a veteran who has a medical condition that might be service connected, take the time to contact our Dare County Veteran Service Officer, Patty O’Sullivan office# (252) 475-5604 or her work cell: (252) 473-7749 to find out what you might be eligible for and file a Claim with the V.A. Patty will help you as much as she can. Please call her.
Thank you for reading GIG LINE and please contact me if you’d like to ask about obtaining your free Dare County Veteran Discount Card. I can be reached on my cell: (252) 202-2058 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org Also, for previous GIG LINE columns, you’ll find a bunch on www.giglineheroes.com Remember folks, whether I know you or not, I love you. God bless you! Stay tuned!