By: Marsha M. Brown
I think the best way to start this column is to begin by expressing my thoughts about being recently asked to serve on the new Dare County Veterans Advisory Council.
When Billy and I attended the Dare County Commissioners meeting on Monday, May 7, 2012 I least expected to be chosen for an Advisory Council position, not because I felt incapable of serving and most certainly not because I didn’t want to invest my time in doing so. We went that morning content just knowing the Council would be officially established and that Council members would be slated to serve. I wasn’t expecting to be one of them.
At first, I was taken aback thinking the composition of Appointees would only be Veterans. I knew by our recommendations alone that other applications had been submitted. I was happy writing my weekly articles for the Coastland Times and extremely grateful that Susan Meekins Simpson had agreed to support the endeavor.
When they called my name as a Council member, I was stunned, shocked and tears came to my eyes. “Billy”, I said, “I’m not a Veteran Babe. What about the other folks that applied? I felt funny for a few minutes and as much as I was honored to have been selected, the tears started to roll. I wanted every Veteran who had stood up for our beautiful U. S. flag, or who had experienced separation from loved ones, or who had seen sacrifice first hand to have that honor.
In response, Billy said, “Marsha, the fact the Commissioners wanted you to be on the Council is great. I’m proud of you and a vote for you is a vote for me…and for all the other Veterans too!” We hugged each other standing in the foyer of the Commissioners meeting room. And well, I don’t know how many people who attend Commissioners meetings cry…but I did. Tears were running and so was my mascara.
Billy and I spoke with some of the other Veterans who were there before we left and the more I thought about it, the more I came to realize that I am just one…but one of many civilians who didn’t serve our country but who sincerely wants to serve our Veterans…all of our Veterans!
I’m thankful my ‘Billy’ and others survived their military service in Vietnam and other foreign wars to be able to be here to be honored. I don’t forget the look on my husband’s face when he speaks of P.O.W.’s and M.I.A.’s. I appreciate all of our U. S. Veterans for the countless, indescribable ways in which they (you) have served our country and for the incredibly brave men and women who have stood up for America regardless of consequence.
COURAGE is a word that consists of only seven little letters but it says it all. Whether it’s a soldier facing an enemy in battle or a patient facing the diagnosis of cancer…courage is what makes the difference in the journey. Often times’ its ‘courage’ that influences the ultimate outcome of the hurdle. We, as Americans, have to have courage. We have to have a basis to our beliefs and convictions and we have to make a stand for things that really matter.
It means a lot to me to be stopped in a parking lot and hear from people who appreciate GIG LINE. Of course I’m proud, but what trumps personal gratification is that you’re reading what I have to say. And speaking of that let me say too that I acknowledge different religions, different points of view and that everybody who reads GIG LINE may not necessarily agree with my perspective on things. I get that and I respect that. But I say what I feel because I believe what I believe with deep conviction and without reservation.
I know very accomplished, intelligent, savvy people who have X.Y.Z.’s behind their name as long as your arm but who haven’t come to terms with the concept of ‘faith’ and why people ‘believe’…period. And I’ve finally surmised a lack of courage to believe, to open their heart and mind to accept the intangible and that somebody pretty mighty is responsible for this entire thing we call “life”.
Even if someone is considered a genius by scholastic measurement, how do they explain the love and protective nature of a mother animal? How it knows to keep its eggs warm, or cast its baby from the nest to make it fly and become independent so it can survive? How do the “doubting Thomases” explain the profound nurturing of insects, sea life and the intricacies of the heavens? It’s broad, miraculous and profound for even the greatest of minds to willingly embrace but talk to a Veteran who has stared death in the face, who had the invisible touch of someone on their shoulder, a whisper in their ear when no one was there or a vision of light. Talk to a medic who knew the survival of many was a pure and simple miracle.
GIG LINE is a column dedicated to Veterans, past, present and future. It is not intended to be a ‘religious’ article. But, in speaking to many Veterans, I have found that often times it wasn’t the guns, tanks or explosives that got them through the terrible times at war, but their faith and their courage to do the job they had to do to simply survive and hopefully come home.
My promise to the Commissioners is that I will do my best to help in any way I can to honor the privilege of serving on the new Council. My promise to you is that I will work diligently, along side the others, to push for every good thing possible for you, our Dare County Veterans, friends and family.
I hope in the months to come we all search our hearts, our souls and our conscience to consider the options before us; that we think things through carefully – with integrity and that we take the time to learn where politicians stand, bathe them in prayer, then exercise our right to vote for the candidate(s) of our choice, whomever that may be.
If you’re interested in purchasing either of two T-shirts ($22-$26); an Original Limited Edition Vietnam Veterans Homecoming 24” x 20” poster ($5 each.) or a 48” x 60” lithograph print ($99) that commemorates the March 31, 2012 Vietnam Veterans Homecoming Celebration held in Charlotte (Concord), N.C., please go online to the www.uso-nc.org website. Once there, click on “get Involved”, then on the drop down, click “Gift Shop” where you’ll see the items. You can order online, easily and securely.
Hatteras Island Veterans
Mark your calendars for Wednesday, May 23 Veterans Administration Medical Center – Hampton, Virginia Rural Health Care Initiative – 10 AM to 1PM at the Fessenden Center in Buxton. Sign up for medical care and inquire about benefits/entitlements. Please bring your DD-214 and your spouse if you are married.
World War II Veterans
According to an article posted online by Jim Carney, Beacon Journal, January 14, 2011, “All combat veterans of World War II probably are eligible for a Bronze Star Medal, yet many – or their surviving families – are not aware of it.” If you or a loved one served during World War II, you may be long overdue for a medal. The article suggested a Veteran or family member contact their U.S. House of Representatives or U.S. Senators offices to determine or confirm eligibility.
U. S. Air Force 20 piece band, “Rhythm in Blue” – FREE concert 1.5 hours on Friday, June 8 – Manteo First Assembly Church. There will be no worship service that night. It’s an event strictly for entertainment and will mostly feature big band music! Everyone who loves music (and our military) is encouraged to come. Veterans this event was scheduled in your honor so please join us and invite your family and friends!