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

Salute to Veterans 2013 – Gig Line #77


By Marsha M. Brown

OH MY GOSH…it’s almost time and I’m so excited I could do somersaults…well, in my dreams anyway. If I actually attempted a somersault now, I’d no doubt end up in traction and miss an event I’ve looked forward to since last year!

Next Saturday, Nov. 9th 7PM – Manteo First Assembly, 812 Wingina St. (across from Manteo Hotline Thrift Store) is the BIG event…and when I say BIG…I mean it! The third annual “SALUTE TO VETERANS” event that I’ve talked about for weeks is only days away and my sweetie pie and I can hardly wait! And let me tell you from the bottom of my heart, if you are a veteran or if you’ve loved a husband, wife, father, mother, sister or brother veteran, you just can’t miss it. The event this year is not comprised of speeches and formality. Rather…what it is…though…is a musical centering on a ‘back in the day’ theme featuring music from the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70/80’s. There will be surprises…special effects, music galore, and tender touching moments that will remind you of years past. Some of us will laugh and some of us will cry but all of us will feel the gentle heart tug and warm embrace of people who honor, support and celebrate our men and women who have served.

This ‘Salute to Veterans’ involves over 30 actors, singers and performers of all ages. Admission is free and there will be no offering – this is a gift from our church family and fellow Christians in our communities who share the love and respect for our veterans. Everyone involved in this special program feels a genuine appreciation for the service and the sacrifice of our military.

This event will remind all of us why we salute our red, white and blue; why we have patriotic music and why the ‘call to duty’ is three little words with huge, enormous meaning and impact. Manteo First Assembly who will again host this event is pleased to announce that two additional  much loved Pastors on Roanoke Island will also take part in the program.

Pastor Ken Mann, our home town, home grown local ‘celebrity’ who has entertained us through radio, TV and public media for years is now also the Pastor of Mount Carmel United Methodist Church in Manns Harbor. Ken will emcee the much anticipated event as well as perform and Pastor Jerry Cribb of Mount Olivet United Methodist Church in Downtown Manteo, a veteran himself of the U. S. Air Force, will also be part of a skit that will undoubtedly touch your heart.

Cindy Arendts who has immeasurable talent is experienced, seasoned and no mistake about it, she ‘feels’ her roll. When I tell you she ‘gets into it’, I mean it. With conviction and that special touch from above, Cindy is able to express from deep down inside her ‘gift’. And when she’s done speaking, you have ‘felt’ it too. She’s a beautiful person inside and out and a blessing to everyone who knows her. I’m older than Cindy, but I look up to her and admire her in many ways. She’s put countless hours into this project: co-writing, choreography, research, typing and re-typing, communication, meetings, phone calls, working with sound, lighting and planning and performing!   

All tolled, there is about 50 people involved in this ‘Salute…’ that have worked together for months now. This is a gift people to all of you who have given so much…it is our pleasure and honor to give a smidgeon of it back. With all the sincerity I can muster…I ask you to come. Be there to experience it, see it, hear it and enjoy it…with us. I’ll look for you.

Also…remember when I told you that my sweetie pie Billy was going to get me a duplicate dog tag sterling silver pendant for my birthday in September? Well, he did and I love it! Two of the nicest fellas you’d ever want to meet, Tim and Frank, at Natural Creations in Kill Devil Hills took great pains and went out of their way to make sure ‘my’ duplicate of Billy’s dog tags was just what I had hoped it would be. They handled Billy’s real deal tag with care and respect; they measured it; took a copy of it; and a picture of it and then contacted a source they trusted to imprint the information just like Billy’s dog tag. When they got it in, they called me right away knowing how anxious I was to get it and it was beautiful. You know slobbery me…when I had taken Billy’s in, my eyes filled up. It’s a precious thing to me. It tells a story. That small piece of metal which hung around my Billy’s neck through some of the worst days, weeks and months of his life is priceless. It went with him to Vietnam and it came back with him and though it’s gray in color – it’s golden to me.

From the first minute I called Natural Creations to the second I got the finished treasure in my hand, they took Billy’s gift to me and my simple way to honor him very seriously. They weren’t just jewelers but more like friends who learned at the onset that I wouldn’t let his original ‘tag’ out of my sight…hence the copy and picture. When I picked it up, Tim placed it in a pretty white jewelry box and handed it to me as if it were a folded flag…it meant a lot because in his eyes I could see his care and his respect. If anyone who reads GIG LINE would like to get a duplicate of their loved ones dog tags and you don’t have a personal jeweler, I suggest you contact them. They told me the source they used to imprint the ‘tag’ uses the same machine that was used in World War II to personalize ‘dog tags’…imagine that. I wear my gift from Billy with pride. I wear it to spark conversation with others about why I wear it, about his and all veterans sacrifice and I will wear it on the night of November 9th at our special event.

Remember we’ll be issuing the Dare County Veteran I. D. Card to veterans who bring their DD-214 and proof of local address (preferably Drivers License) to the Dare County Admin. Building    Tuesday, Nov. 5th from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM – Rm. 142. Don’t forget that is also Voting Day too in case you’ll be stopping by to cast your ballot. You might as well come prepared to get your ‘Card’ and start saving money thanks to the local businesses who have made a commitment to honor you!

We also hope to see you on Friday, Nov. 8th at 1:00 PM at for the Dare Center, the Monarch Beach Club and The American Legion Fort Raleigh Post 26 will host their annual Veterans Luncheon at the Dare Center where good food, great fellowship and music that will make you smile. Sandy and her staff do a wonderful job…please mark your calendars!

The following day on Sunday, Nov. 10th at 1:00 PM come to the ALL YOU CAN EAT ‘pig picking’ hosted by the Fraternal Order of Eagles and Auxiliary #4506 located on the corner of Beach Rd. and Baum St., Kill Devil Hills. The event will be fun, the ‘pig’ and fixings will be delicious and you’ll be in the company of people who truly care about others! The fundraiser will grow the veteran ‘fund’ the Eagles have established to benefit local veterans in Dare & Currituck County.  The reason? A lot of immediate needs of veterans cannot be met in a timely manner based on lengthy paperwork processes and typically slow VA correspondence. Like Eagle Vince Puma told me: if a veteran needs a wheelchair ramp or wheelchair ramp repair for example the Eagles would like to be able to help. The event will start at 1:00 PM with Adult plates $15, Kids $5 and kids under five eat free.

Monday, Nov. 11th is of course Veteran’s Day and services will be held at the Downtown Manteo (Old Courthouse) Memorial Site at 11:00 AM and again at the Memorial Site on Veterans Drive at 12:30 PM.

On the following Friday, Nov. 15th, the Dare County Arts Council will host a new and spectacular Carolina Veterans Weekend that you can help launch! That evening Molasses Creek and Jonny Waters & Company will perform at Festival Park in addition to “a public reading by Joseph Bathanti, N. C. Poet Laureate, who has dedicated his tenure to literature for and about veterans” per Barbara St. Amand. In addition, Barbara said, “the new event will continue the celebration of the military service of so many men and women across North Carolina and our country”. Everyone is encouraged to continue displaying their U. S. A. flags beyond Veterans Day, Monday, Nov. 11th through the following weekend ending on Sun., Nov. 17th. Founder of the nationally recognized Veterans Writing Project, Ron Capps and Joseph Bathanti will present a two day writing workshop for military veterans Saturday Nov. 16th and Sunday, Nov. 17th”.  There is no charge for the 2-day workshop and with a few remaining seats, veterans of all ages are urged to attend. Having met Barbara on several occasions, I have personally seen her excitement at the new event for veterans and witnessed her enthusiasm about the workshop especially. For more information, please contact the Dare County Arts Council by calling (252) 473-5558 or email chris@darearts.org or visit www.darearts.org per Barbara.  

Oh yes…Billy asked me to ask you all to check your American Legion and/or V.F.W. Membership Cards to see if you’re affiliated with the organization(s) in Raleigh or here with Fort Raleigh Post 26 or the Outer Banks. It’s important! Please contact them to have it changed to our local Posts, mailing addresses etc.

There’s a lot going on between Fri., Nov.8th and Sunday, Nov. 17. Don’t miss out on the fun folks, get out and spend time with the best of the best…VETERANS! Write to me at editor@giglineheroes.com anytime and please feel free to call anytime we can be of help or direct you to the right source of help!

Until next time be happy, be safe, be proud and thank a veteran each and every day…they deserve it! Stay tuned…

Contact the Editor

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 editor@giglineheroes.com.  Have a story to tell or a veteran to feature? She would love to hear from you!

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