By Marsha M. Brown
Every year faithful believers come together on the first Thursday in May for a very special assembly. A gathering of the prayerful patriotic join together for the ‘National Day of Prayer’ which this year took place on May 2nd. As usual, it was held on the grounds of the Dare County Justice Center. The annual event earmarked another extraordinary day in the hearts and minds of many loyal believers across our nation.
According to the web site www.timeanddate.com the day is about “prayer of all faiths”. The online article describes the unique day as not being a public holiday but one that was initiated when the Continental Congress in 1775 “allocated a time for prayer in forming a new nation”. In essence, the article goes on to say that over time our highest officials acknowledged the need for bringing the faithful together and that including …President Lincoln in 1863 who called for a day of prayer; then President Harry Truman in 1952 who “signed a bill proclaiming the National Day of Prayer into law in the United States”, then “President Reagan amended the law in 1988 to designate the first Thursday of May each year as the National Day of Prayer”.
Last year both Billy and I were able to attend the ‘prayer’ but due to a continuing education real estate class, I was unable to this year. But my sweetie pie Billy, one of five members of our local American Legion Fort Raleigh Post 26, Kill Devil Hills was able to participate and along with the others did just that. Prior to the event at noon that day, the fellas got together for a brief run through and when it was time, my sweetheart hoped it would all go well.
His involvement equated to the actual folding of our beautiful American flag. In doing so, Dan Beall, Legion Secretary, along with fellow members Brian Kelly and Charlie Wright held the other end of our nations garment while American Legion Commander Clarence Lewis read the words that accompany the ‘folding’ ceremony. Billy said it was very special to him to have been able to take part, never having participated before.
If you’ve ever seen the ceremony performed, you probably remember the deliberate precision of each fold. “The corners have to be tight, real tight”…”No”…” Billy said…”they have to be perfect”. “It can’t be done haphazardly”. As it turned out and according to others who were there, it couldn’t have gone better. Billy was happy and he was proud. He wanted the folds to be “just right” and somehow with little preparation and great teamwork…that’s exactly how the exercise turned out. I thanked the good Lord for that. Billy’s sentimental about things that have to do with honor and respect…for country, for our military and for our veterans everywhere.
Toward the end of the article I read about the National Day of Prayer, I noticed that the first observance date but what struck me the most was the last date the calendar indicates at this point in time…its on May 7, 2015. All I can say is…Dear Lord, I hope not. I hope the celebration of prayer for our nation goes far beyond that but…then again, I guess only time will tell.
If you know my big sweetheart, you know he’s burley and robust around the middle (just like me). Now in his 60’s, he’s still very strong, takes pride in everything he does and he’s determined. A devout husband, wonderful father and endearing grandfather…he’s more ‘man’ than I can tell you for a million different reasons but he’s also…the most patriotic soul I’ve ever known.
When Billy went to Fort Sill prior to his deployment to Vietnam he and his buddies decided to get a tattoo. He had always wanted a tattoo but with deep respect for his very conservative parents, he had refrained until then. Billy’s Dad, being a Pastor, was not extremely fond of tattoos and had always encouraged Billy not to get one. But at that point in Billy’s life, he was his own man, making his own decisions and in anticipation of the pending all expense paid vacation to Hell (as many describe it), and he decided he was going to get one regardless.
Billy seriously considered what to have permanently etched into his arm…after all it would stay with him forever. He wanted the permanent artwork to be something he liked…that he’d be proud of…and yes, even with the anticipation of the shock his parents would feel once they saw it, he went for it anyway. Billy felt it was a good thing to get a tattoo, especially going to Vietnam because “it would be another method of body identification” he said. When he looked at the countless choices of patterns on display that covered the walls in that tiny tattoo parlor in Fort Worth, Texas, it was the American Bald Eagle that especially caught his attention. Billy and his buddies left that night bearing a lasting reminder of that eventful night.
As you may know, our American Bald Eagle is a symbol of strength, power and freedom. In retrospect, it seems only logical that my sweetie pie would have chosen such a remarkable symbol to accompany him to Vietnam. He knew he’d have to be strong and powerful in orderto overcome the enemy he would face if he would have any hope of coming back home to our American freedom.
I wish I could have attended this year’s National Day of Prayer and have seen my sweetheart fold the precious red, white and blue that he and so many others have fought for…to protect and preserve that is still being fought for and prayed for today. God bless our country. God bless the men and women who have and as we speak still fight for it each day.
Oh yes! Our Dare County Veteran I.D. Card(s) have now been ordered. They are expected to be received by the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council just prior to Memorial Day. Interestingly enough, the cards are symbolic of patriotism with just one glance. They have an American flag background with the Dare County emblem in the foreground. The cards are numbered, Non Transferable and specific only to the one veteran to which it’s assigned. I can’t wait until we get them and until one is assigned to my sweetie pie. It will officially and outwardly earmark that we are progressing for our veterans in Dare County.
Last Sunday I received a very nice phone call from a decorated veteran on Hatteras Island who had just read GIG LINE and who wanted to share contact info of a perspective business that honors veterans through their business discount. I was very happy to talk with him…he was a nice, polite, obviously intelligent man and very experienced at life. We had a nice talk and at the end of the conversation, I felt blessed…I really did. He reads GIG LINE faithfully and his wealth of information, military history and insight will no doubt help to reach far and wide in our quest toward honoring our veterans. I realized early in our exchange of ideas, concerns and hope that I would look forward to speaking with him often. At the end of our conversation I thanked him for calling me and for reading GIG LINE, then what he said to me in return, I’ll never forget. He said, “Thank you for picking up the flag”. Those words mean a lot to me and they will stay with me always.
Until next time, be thankful we can still worship as we please and as we so choose. Be thankful for the National Day of Prayer and if you can attend next year, please try…it will bless you, I promise. Be happy, be safe, be proud and thank a veteran…every single day. If you don’t know one, find one…they’re all around you…just open your eyes and your heart and either you’ll find them or they’ll find you. Stay tuned…