Celebrating and commemorating our veterans. United States military veterans and their families.

Respect for Veterans – Gig Line #99

GIG LINE

By Marsha M. Brown

When it comes to speed reading, count me out. I’m not a whiz kid. My sweetie pie Billy can read a page in seconds…literally…and for that matter so can my sister Donna. They both graduated from Manteo High School in 1965 both having excelled scholastically. Even today when we visit at her house Billy, Donna and her husband Randey watch their favorite show ‘Jeopardy’ and while they all spout off the right answers…I usually look at magazines. I love magazines and books…and I can find joy all day long sitting in a book store.

If you’re a book nut, you might want to visit the ‘Bookery’ (formerly called Roanoke Press – Croatoan Bookery) in Nags Head. Talk about a unique place of lost literary treasures! Once inside you’ll sense that old Outer Banks feel and atmosphere. From wall to wall you’ll see old books, brand new books and even antiques for sale. Trust me when I tell you, it’s a fun place to visit and to shop! A treasure trove of goodies and I do mean ‘goodies’, you’ll find all kinds of books about the military, the Civil War and its very likely you’ll find just what you’re looking for. When I go, the first thing I do is look for a place to sit down with a stack of books on everything from the Vietnam War to crafts and writing. Then I take my time sifting through the ones I want to buy. I’ve found countless goodies not only for myself but gifts for our grandchildren! And…if you’re looking for old…real old sheet music…they’ve got that too! Oh my gosh! I couldn’t believe it! Take my word and visit the ‘Bookery’ if you have a chance. The manager’s name is Tony and he’s very accommodating when it comes to finding the books, prints etc. that you’re looking for. The ‘Bookery’ is located on the west side of the by-pass between Staples and Harris Teeter grocery store (it used to be the location of the Evans Crabhouse). Take my word and check it out!

Reading material is good for the soul…especially when it teaches us or inspires us to be a better person. Personally, I admire anyone who has the time to read romance novels…and while I haven’t read a bunch myself…I could write a ton of them about my sweetie pie Billy…(tee,hee), I just haven’t had the time. What I do read through often are magazines that come to the house through Billy’s membership in the V.F.W. and the American Legion. As a member you receive a monthly magazine from both organizations and to say the least, they inspire you.

Just this past week, I read through both of them and I found as usual page after page of not only inspirational stories about men who had lost their legs in combat but of families of slain veterans who proudly served and gave the ultimate sacrifice. As in most magazines that cover the spectrum, some of the material is sad and makes you cry and some of it lifts you up, makes you smile and gives you that resurgence of pride in our country and our fighting men and women.

The magazines connect you with buddies that you never personally met but that you come to know through their experiences and testimony and or through the recollections and words of the love ones left behind who honor them.

If you’re a veteran, I strongly recommend that you join or re-join our local chapters of the American Legion Fort Raleigh Post 26 (contact: Clarence Lewis, Commander 252-305-1934) and the V.F.W. Outer Banks Post 10950 (contact: Jim Norrell, Quarter Master 252-489-9421. Note: the American Legion meets every 4th Tuesday at 12:00 noon and lunch is provided. The V.F.W. meets every 3rd Wednesday at 7:00 PM at the shared location of 302 W. Lake Dr., Kill Devil Hills (west side of the by-pass, behind T-Tops) but very soon…the Hall will be open for a relaxed veteran fellowship each Monday – Friday from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Coffee will be served but more than that…veteran comradary, friendship and support. My take on the new endeavor is that it will be somewhat of a ‘healing place’. All of our local veterans that will man the site are dedicated to our country and to you their fellow veteran. Please keep tabs on GIG LINE for the official start date.     

If you typically read GIG LINE, you may be aware that in the months and years to come, Dare County veterans and their supporters will engage in and see to fruition increased attention to and help for our veterans right here…at home. And while all who love and appreciate veterans everywhere, clear evidence of veteran’s needs right here on the Outer Banks is apparent…more so than ever before which is a good thing my friends.   

Just for a minute stop and wonder…how many times you read an obit in the paper or online at one of the two local funeral homes and saw that the friend or neighbor you read about who had passed on was, in fact, a veteran of the U.S. Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard or National Guard. How sad is it that a lot of times we never even knew that he or she had so valiantly served our country? I can attest personally to surprise reading that the veteran had passed when I never even knew he had served in World War II, Korea or Vietnam? No…it’s not acceptable anymore to let our veterans history of service lay dormant and only proclaimed by mention at his funeral or in his obituary.

It is time that we all unite around these awesome men and women; celebrate their bravery, their talents, their skills, their fortitude, their hardships, heartache, fear and their survival – my goodness people, isn’t it about time? I want to know now who they are…who YOU are so I can thank you. I want to say that I am proud to know you and that what you did for us as a nation is important and memorable and to be celebrated when you’re alive…not after you’re no longer here to see the gratitude and respect you deserve.

The Dare County Veterans Advisory Council is comprised of seven members. They are as follows: Clarence Lewis, Chairman (Manteo); Frank ‘Dale’ Draper (Kitty Hawk), Joe Pope (Kitty Hawk), Billy Brown (Manteo), Lynda Hester (Manteo), Josh Turner (Avon) and I as Secretary (Manteo). The Dare County Veteran I.D. Card project the Council created that is offered to veterans who present their DD-214 showing HONORABLE discharge was a means for us to meet you and thank you personally. It was also a means of finding out that YOU are a Dare County veteran. What I’m getting at is that even if you don’t feel the need to get one of our business discount I.D. Cards, it would still help us to acknowledge you and include your name on our I.D. Card registry. Please make it a point, if you haven’t already to come see us and get your Card. Through April, we’ll be available each Wednesday from 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM at the Dare County Administrative Building located at 954 Marshall C. Collins Dr., Manteo (Courthouse complex). We volunteer to do what we do out of the love and respect we have for you. Again, I invite you to come see us with your DD-214 and proof of local address – preferably your Driver’s License. It only takes 10 – 15 minutes to process. And folks, even if you don’t care about saving money at area businesses, please do it for us so we can add you to our list of honorable, selfless Americans. 

In next week’s column, I’ll describe the start up of our American Legion Fort Raleigh Post 26 sponsored baseball team. It will be comprised of boys aged 13 – 17 along with a schedule of try out dates.

Until next time, be happy, be safe and be proud…our veterans are why we are who we are, thank them, hug them and shake their hand. Let them hear the words ‘thank you’ as often as you can say it. It’s an understatement that it will mean a lot to them and maybe it will inspire others who hear you to do it too!  Write to me through [email protected]. And as always…stay tuned!  

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Marsha M. Brown has been writing a weekly Gig Line since 2012.  Marsha is the widow of Vietnam War, U.S. Army, veteran Billy Brown of Manteo, NC.  She was instrumental in establishing the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council and maintains an active role in the veteran community. You can reach Marsha with questions or suggestions at [email protected].  Have a story to tell or a veteran to feature? She would love to hear from you!

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