By Marsha M. Brown
In the process of writing this particular GIG LINE it dawned on me that it was my 100th column. I sat back in my ‘writing chair’ for a minute then considered how it all came to be and how God had fulfilled another dream I had had for two things in my life. The first being to find a way to truly honor my sweetie pie husband Billy, not just because I love him so much but because I honor him as a veteran of the U. S. Army and veteran of the Vietnam War.
If you know and love someone who has served in Vietnam, you no doubt understand the challenge to help them understand and embrace their worthiness; their value; their contribution to our country and our way of life. You have likely seen the sadness they uniquely own when they recall the obvious rejection and shame imposed on them when they returned to the land they loved and yearned to see…one more time. If you know and love a Vietnam veteran you see them often times in deep thought or staring into space and you feel their pain even though you’ll never even come close to understanding the depth of it.
Our men and women came home from the most terrible experience in their life…not to the much deserved confetti, flag waving & parades but rather to protests, vulgar words and insulting phrases hollered at them in public places. And if that wasn’t bad enough, they even endured nasty human spit propelled in unjustified contempt on or near their most precious U. S. military uniform. How could we? Even today, I still find it hard to take in. And I am ashamed too…not for our survivors of that War but for those of us who let them down, stepped on their heart, spirit, pride and their right to feel the ‘freedom’ of American soil as they should have. You see, not only from my pride being married to a Vietnam veteran but also through others vets I’ve met these last few years. Hearing heartfelt apologizes from yesteryear protestors for many of our Vietnam veteran’s still tastes bitter. And you know what? They pine…by that, I mean they ‘feel’ to the core of their being for the P.O.W. and M.I.A. veterans who remain unaccounted for each and every day.
Yes, my husband is a Vietnam veteran and an extraordinary man. He like everyone else who served there was sent to perform specific duties in order to protect the innocent and fellow comrades. And together those valiant men fought, bled and cried at each others side and when they had a chance, they’d pray they’d live to see their homeland again. It is my hearts desire to speak for those who will never express audibly the feelings they have. Will I ever stop talking about Vietnam veterans? Not a chance; they’ve earned all the positive attention they can get…even after all these years. They like all veterans who have served our country deserve to be remembered, honored and embraced.
The second dream I’ve had is to honor our Lord Jesus Christ and to share what He has meant to me, to my Billy and to so many veterans throughout history. Because of Him, I am blessed to be married to Billy Brown and walk through doors He has opened enabling me to write about our veterans and to give them weekly honor on a public platform. Because God provided a way, I’m able to hear veteran stories first hand, that rise from deep in their soul. And just because…I can look them straight in the eye and hear from them what their faith meant to them in the jungles and on the battlefields.
Before there was the Civil War, WWI, WWII and all the conflicts and battles since… there was a battle for good against evil. And through that battle for good – horrible things happened. Pain, suffering and sacrifice was inflicted but when all was said and done ‘good’ prevailed, a miracle took place and His life was restored…hence our celebration of Easter, His resurrection and new beginnings.
Miracles do happen. I know first hand. And faith? Well…you can’t hold in your hand; it has no color or flavor; you can’t pick it up or throw it down; you can’t weigh it on a scale…but it is the most powerful thing available to us. It can lift us up, give us hope, comfort our sorrow, make us smile and change our life. God is real and God is good.
This Easter please think about the real value of sacrifice. Remember the sacrifices of our veterans too. Remember their faith, their prayers on the battlefield, in the trenches and under the sea in their quest for ‘good’. Thank the good Lord for the renewed spirit of love and pride in our veterans across Dare County and soak it all in. Hug your family and friends; hold hands at your dinner table (with cell phones turned off and no where in sight) and this Easter truly feel the love.
NEWSFLASH! Members of the American Legion Fort Raleigh Post 26 (with help of V.F.W. Outer Banks Post 10950 members) are actively revamping the Legion hall located at 302 W. Lake Dr., Kill Devil Hills…where each organization meets. And when I tell you revamping…I M-E-A-N it! They’ve recently acquired Internet service, a huge new flat screen TV (donated by one of our local businesses) and the hall itself it being cleaned and readied for a fresh new look! Legion and V.F.W. members are working together to make the hall available to all veterans who wish to stop by five days a week from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM Monday – Friday to talk, pick up VA handout material, sign up for American Legion and or V.F.W. membership, get to know fellow vets and reunite with veteran friends from yesteryear! Starting when? Beginning…can I hear a drum roll please? This Monday, April 21st!!!! Isn’t that wonderful? Isn’t that G-R-E-A-T? With the big new TV veterans can now watch videos about VA health care, educational and fund raising events etc. It’s my understanding that coffee will be served too but more than anything…the best friendships around! Why don’t YOU stop by the Legion hall this week and say hello? It would mean a lot to the members that will man the schedule. And by the way, this past week while the fellas were working a couple of younger vets stopped by and expressed interest in getting involved, helping spread the word through Face book and the Internet and the older members were thrilled! The senior members want very much to see new and younger members join and become involved in both the Legion and V.F.W. Like I’ve said before…things are happening and moving full speed ahead for Dare County veterans! YIPPEEEEEE!
Another NEWSFLASH! If you’re interested in seeking a potential VA loan to buy a home or refinance your current VA loan, please make plans to attend our next Dare County Veterans Advisory Council meeting on Thursday, April 24th at 3:00 PM – Dare County Administrative Building – Manteo (middle building Courthouse complex).
Loan Officer Cindy Brown with Sun Trust Mortgage in Kitty Hawk will be speaking at our meeting and answering questions about the process of acquiring a VA loan. Our meetings start at 3:00 PM and Cindy will be one of the first speakers if you can make plans to attend. Cindy is very experienced with VA loans and has valuable information to share with all of us. Everyone as usual is invited to attend our monthly Council meetings…so we’ll look for you!
Until next time, be happy, be safe, be proud and you know the drill… (my drill) …thank a veteran and hug him or her EVERY single day! God bless you all and HAPPY EASTER everybody! Stay tuned…