By Marsha M. Brown
Next Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 5:30 PM, the Kill Devil Hills Town Hall, 102 Town Hall Dr. will be the site for public acknowledgement of the approaching conclusion of the Vietnam War and the return of the service men and women who served in South East Asia nearly a lifetime ago.
The Town of Kill Devil Hills Board of Commissioners have graciously invited Vietnam Veterans to attend their meeting where former Dare County Commissioner and Veteran Moncie ‘Punk’ Daniels, Lt. Col. (Ret.) United States Air Force will publicly thank the men and women who sacrificed their life in an unforgettable war.
Having heard Mr. Daniels speak about veterans and their love and commitment to our country at prior events, I know first hand that his address will touch everyone in attendance. When he speaks of veterans he speaks with pride and his delivery is both moving and inspirational. Of the Vietnam veterans we’ve been able to personally reach out to and invite by phone, email or through friends on Facebook, we’ve been happy to see so many respond with gratitude, interest and an eagerness to attend if at all possible. We’ve explained to each one we’ve spoken to that the get together would be brief but that it was important to be a part of it because this ground floor ‘kick off’ of the Vietnam Veteran Reunion Picnic to be held only 10 days later in Kill Devil Hills (at Aviation Park on Saturday March 30, 2013 12:00 noon) will hopefully be one of many to come.
I realize I wrote about this topic in last week’s column, however, when I was calling our Vietnam veterans who have grown up, lived, worked and raised their families in Dare County, it was clear that some had missed the article last week. And once they knew a little something special was taking place in their honor I could hear appreciation in their voice. They seemed eager to seize an opportunity to participate, so this is another reminder to Vietnam veterans and their families who still may not know to please join us.
This is a start folks…it’s a simple start but very significant making special note of veterans who served in Vietnam. It is our hope that the reunion and picnic, though put together quickly and with no special funding will, at least this year, entice Vietnam veterans, family members and friends to come together annually on the Outer Banks. Who knows, maybe next year we might have special music and speakers…and then again…maybe not…we’ll learn this ‘go round’ what would make our heroes happy at an event in their honor…but we have to start somewhere.
And speaking of entities and businesses who take the initiative to thank and/or help veterans there is more opportunity in the works. Starting in April, local businesses will be contacted individually to request their voluntary participation in a new project the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council has been working on. The Dare County Veterans I.D. card currently in process will coincide with businesses who will offer goods and services at a discount for DARE COUNTY VETERANS only. We already know there are national business chains which demonstrate their appreciation toward veterans by offering either daily discounts or discounts on specific dates during the year and veterans are thankful. The Council’s goal is to invite restaurants, retail stores and even hotels/motels and others to join in and offer a discount for the veteran who does business with them. Perhaps a business will offer 10% – 15% – 20% off of the veteran (only) purchase daily and if not daily, maybe a designated day during the week when the business is slower for example. Once produced, the card will have a multi purpose. It will give the Council an opportunity to connect to the Dare County veteran; it will encourage business for the proprietor who recognizes and embraces the value of our veterans and it will benefit our veterans by acknowledging affording them a discount for goods or services of the businesses who sign up. My point is, the Veterans Advisory Council is working for our veterans. It is a goal of the Council to inspire more and more counties across North Carolina to follow suit and adopt their new or renewed commitment to serving their veterans as well. The Council will effectively advertise the availability of the cards once they become available for distribution. I’ll also keep you posted through GIG LINE.
Though the VA Rural Health Initiative group had planned to be onsite for veterans interested in VA health care on March 27, 2013 at the Fessenden Center in Buxton, we were notified by Integrator Jeff Pearson this week that due to the road construction on Hatteras Island, the event will be cancelled until a date closer to Memorial Day. If you have questions about VA health care, Jeff invites you to call him at 757-722-9961 Ext. 7741.
Please remember and note the following dates of interest to veterans and their families:
- St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Sunday, March 17, 2013 at 1:00 PM – Nags Head;
- American Legion Fort Raleigh Post 26 meeting, Tuesday, March 26, 2013 –
302 W. Lake Dr., Kill Devil Hills;
- Veterans Advisory Council meeting, Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 3:00 PM – Rm. 168 – Dare County Administrative Building;
- Vietnam Veterans Reunion Picnic, Saturday, March 30, 2013 at 12 Noon, Aviation Park, Kill Devil Hills (off Veterans Dr. by the K.D.H. Town Hall)
You know what folks? The older I grow the more I learn new ways to help others that don’t involve money. Little things that may seem insignificant often times make the biggest difference touch a life and influence others in a positive way. Case in point: attending functions that honor our veterans. Actually being there to show your support, your appreciation and your pride goes a long, long way. You don’t have to have served in Vietnam to attend the upcoming events this month. You don’t even have had to have served in the military…just come, bring your family and enjoy the day. By the way, Webster’s Dictionary explains ‘comradery’ (like the special bond of brotherhood between Vietnam veterans in this case) as “the special comradery that exists between soldiers that have experienced the crucible of combat together”.
And my direct request to all Vietnam veterans, please seize the moment and get together with others who have ‘been there, done that’. No one besides yourselves really, truly understand. You are a unique and special group of people. Please come and let other good people express their appreciation and show you the honor you deserve.
Be happy, be safe, be proud and thank a veteran. We will look for you on March 20th and March 30th and I can’t wait. God bless you all and thank you. Until next time, stay tuned…