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

Soldiers Wish – Gig Line #59


By Marsha M. Brown

Hi everybody! As usual I have a lot to tell you, so please grab a cup of coffee and sit down with me for a few minutes.

The issuance of the Dare County Veteran I. D. Card is going well. Our local veterans are expressing more interest all the time and contacting us for schedules as to when they can obtain theirs. As of today’s writing of GIG LINE, Billy and I have just been to the Fessenden Center in Buxton to distribute them and we had two appointments on Thursday, June 20th at the Baum Center in Kill Devil Hills and the Dare County Administrative Building in Manteo. This is good folks! The Dare County Veterans Advisory Council very much wants to get these beautiful CARD(s) in the hands of our veterans! The businesses that we’ve been able to contact and propose the idea of partnering up to discount their goods and services specifically for veterans are responding with great enthusiasm and they’re willing to show our veterans their appreciation for their service. Please keep reading GIG LINE every Sunday for future schedules to get your CARD; contact the Dare County Veterans Service Office at 475-5604 or you’re welcome to call me at (252) 202-2058 if you’d like.

This past Thursday my sweetie pie and I attended the 95th Annual Convention of The American Legion in Raleigh. From arrival until the time we left on Saturday following the Election of Department Officers for 2013 – 2014, we consistently met truly wonderful men and women who love this country.

As a Member of the Women’s Auxiliary (Fort Raleigh Post 26 – Manteo), I spent a good amount of time meeting and hob-knobbing with other Auxiliary Members. I especially enjoyed the comrodary of Ruth Lewis. She is an inspiration to me for many reasons and I sincerely appreciated her company. Ruth spent a good deal of her time explaining things to me, being my first time there and introducing me to women from other North Carolina county Auxiliaries. I like Ruth a lot. She’s a smart, pretty lady who is very devoted to the goals of the Legion overall. Her husband Clarence is not only the Commander of our Fort Raleigh Post 26 – Manteo but a Member of the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council too.

The event took place at the Hilton North Raleigh/Midtown and the staff there went out of their way to welcome everyone. During our stay I saw many different Legion hats and inquired the difference. They were different shapes, sizes, colors and each meaning something different and very significant. Much of what I saw including the booths on display outside the meeting rooms were all about patriotism, love of country, devotion to those who had made the ultimate sacrifice and to honor of veterans…but you know what really hit me? the respect everyone, without exception, showed for our American flag. 

In the meeting rooms where many people gathered each Legion Member who passed by our beautiful red, white and blue flag posted at the front (of course), stopped and saluted if walking past it or if leaving the room. Countless times, no matter how long they might have exited for…it didn’t matter…what did matter was that they stopped…and they saluted. I loved it. I loved that the open, proud and exceptional manner of respect that is shown by American Legion members and it made me proud that my sweetie pie Billy and I are a part of the organization.

Commander Lewis, Ruth, Billy and I were especially proud when Clarence was called up front to accept an award on behalf of The Coastland Times for a Public Relations Award for veteran related articles and news. It meant a lot to us because naturally The Coastland Times was in competition with other newspapers. But even when Billy was still attending Manteo High School back in the 1960’s, he worked at the Times Office for the Meekins’ family and then…before he went in the Army and to Vietnam, he recognized and appreciated the interest, attention and  dedication the Meekins’ family had toward promoting veteran news. Still today, the paper continues the tradition of honoring our veterans and active duty service men and women by embracing not only GIG LINE but many articles or pictures that are presented to them. To this day, the entire family continue their quest to inform, further elevate and encourage respect for those who have served our country and those of us who read The Coastland Times or write for it are grateful.

In addition, a multitude of other awards for exceptional youth, law enforcement and so much more were presented too. It was nice…really, really nice. And while many in attendance wore glasses, used canes there were also many younger people too. No offense folks, but for anyone who thinks The American Legion is just for senior citizens…think again. I saw a lot of young men and women at the event who wore special attire or hats that told you immediately of their serious involvement in the Legion; vests with all kinds of Armed Forces patches, countless pins and patches affixed to hats, shirts and jackets…and the environment in general was memorable. Not only history and reflections of wars past but a sea of honor flooded the hallways. It enveloped you.

One of the booth displays I visited promoted “SOLDIER’S WISH” and when I asked one of the young women affiliated with the Raleigh veteran group about it, she gave me a Media Talking Points flyer that described that organization as saying “thank you to the veterans and active duty members of the United States Armed Forces and their families”. It further described “providing acts of kindness to meet unmet needs for unwavering sacrifice made by the brave men and women who served – and continue to serve – our country.” Their keepsake for remembrance of their organization is a dog tag type necklace. We got one and if you’re interested in further info or about making a donation, please see www.SoldiersWish.org.

My understanding is that the next annual The American Legion Convention will be held in Charlotte, N. C. – dates and place pending at this time.

“GIG LINE” columns are long…almost always, but there’s always so much to tell you and believe me many activities are in the works for Dare County veterans this fall…please keep abreast of “GIG LINE” for ‘CARD’ distribution schedules and businesses that will honor them. 

In the meantime, be happy, be safe, be proud and thank a veteran…every single day! Stay tuned, there’s more great news for veterans on the way. Again, don’t hesitate to call me or write through editor@giglineheroes.com any questions or thoughts you’d like to share.

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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