By Marsha M. Brown
The clock is again preparing to escort us into a New Year 2016 and as usual the change to the last digit of the calendar year brings new hope for all of us. It will naturally inspire us to seek the perfect diet that will finally help us lose weight; improve or increase our monetary status; act on promising employment opportunities; vacation in new exciting places we have only dreamed about; realize that each of us have a story to tell and actually sit down and write about it; rebuild that old truck totally over taken by vines that is hidden in the old shed out back; discover things about ourselves that we have taken for granted all of our life and act on them utilizing our best assets, talents, skills and opportunities to benefit not only ourselves but others.
Yes the hands of time will quickly sweep us into the future but what goes with that are also remembrances of the past…only days from now looking back we were in a year that other people were in as well…with us…people we loved so dearly…so sweetly who are no longer here. They will not be here for the New Year’s toast; or the party ‘tooters’ and horns and that special kiss at the strike of midnight. That aspect and heartbreak of 2015 will never change but grasping the thought that time heals all things is comforting and what we cling to…and thank goodness. But to all who have lost someone during this past year or so whether it was their husband, wife, child, sibling or friend…just know one thing…those we miss are not forgotten…truly they are not forgotten.
When I see Wanda Daniels, the Manteo High School Redskins football team or a plane fly overhead …in my mind’s eye I see Moncie L. “Punk” Daniels, III (U. S. Air Force) and I smile; Norma Etheridge reminds me so much of her beloved Bobby (U. S. Coast Guard) and the good, neighborly friendship we once shared; Anna Baum transports me back to bedside chats my Billy and I enjoyed with the love of her life Richard (U. S. Army) – a man who could make anybody laugh even through his physical challenges and suffering; Amy Gamiel reminds me of her Bobby (U. S. Army & U. S. Navy) and how he and his best buddy/partner and fellow veteran Ed Ambrose created a beautiful hearth in our old, treasured ‘Mann’ family home; Edward Lee Mann (U. S. Coast Guard) creates a picture of his beloved Daddy (my first cousin) Allen Lee (U. S. Coast Guard) who took me to a live donkey basketball game when I was in the second grade and who only very recently crossed the bar…but then so many of our veterans have moved on and up in this last year…and the year before…and before that…and well beyond that. I cherish Valerie Daniels too and I think of her Bobby (U. S. Army) and the influence they both had on securing help for a fellow veteran and friend that ultimately changed his life.
God bless all of our service men and women…and the spouses and children who keep their chins up despite their loss and grief. Consider the pride and passion of the loved ones they miss…and know that we too miss them. We will forever remember their smile, their touch, their voice and their special unique characteristics that made them who they were. Please know that we know your tears are heavy and frequent but that your loved ones were loved by everyone blessed to know them. Your loved ones impacted all of our lives in one way or another…for the good. My Billy says, “Praise and honor is due each of our veterans who have heard the bugle sound.”
In looking back over 2015 I am thankful for the strides we have made together for our veterans across Dare County. Whether it was the successful outreach to veterans through the Veterans Advisory Council; observing the membership growth in the Outer Banks V.F.W. Post 10950 and American Legion Post 26; the elevated support and increased activities honoring veterans across the Outer Banks by business owners, etc.; assistance in building wheelchair accessible ramps; having a first year entry in the Town of Manteo and Hatteras Village Christmas Parade(s); increased attendance in the third annual Veterans Writing Project initiated by the Dare Arts Council or the issuance of almost 450 Veteran I.D. Cards…just for starters…it’s the truth…we have come a long way…by showing our interest and support…and standing united for our Dare County (and all) veterans…together.
As we move into 2016 let us continue the momentum…stick by our vets and show them the love they deserve. Let us become more aware of our Dare County families who have children or loved ones deployed into dangerous parts of our world. Add their names to your daily prayer requests – ask for their protection and safe return to loved ones at home and soon. Teach your little ones and grandchildren to honor and realize the meaning of our beautiful American flag; about what our little red flower – the Poppy represents; help them understand the importance of our military and what each branch offers to care for and defend our nation and encourage our youth to consider enlistment to help further strengthen and grow the mightiest military in the world.
Despite the hardships, the struggles, the concerns of today…we are richly blessed. May we all stand up for those who stand up for us on a daily basis in far away places and at home not knowing when the call to combat, front lines or enemy confrontation may come. Think of them, the challenges and timely decisions they may be required to make just to survive and to protect their (our) country. Remember that in this coming New Year 2016 there will be meetings, cookouts, fundraisers, celebrations, ceremonies and events that honor our veterans – regardless of age or experience – that they are all our heroes…each and every one. Realize that our presence at events in their honor will be noticed and appreciated by them and that when we tell a veteran “Thank you for your service!” it is felt to the depths of their soul…so please say it often.
This next year offers hope for better days ahead. Ask God to help you find your way to help others…to show a light into a sometimes dark world and to touch someone else in a way that will introduce or increase real joy into their heart. It’s time!
Thank you for reading GIG LINE because you are all a blessing to me and to my sweetie pie Billy (U. S. Army – Vietnam veteran). Be happy, be safe and be proud. God loves you and so do we! Call me (252) 202-2058 or write to me at [email protected] Until next time…stay tuned!