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

Solute to Veteran 2013 – Gig Line #69


By Marsha M. Brown

Dedicated to Veterans

Isn’t it odd that even with all the modern, high tech conveniences we have at our fingertips today we’re still so busy we find it hard to see straight? Where does the time go? How did our folks ‘back in the day’ get things done having no microwaves; no dishwashers; no cell phones and the phones they did have were rotary dial ‘land lines’ that was often times shared by other families requiring you to wait your turn to use it?

Remember how you’d pick up the heavy black receiver to check, and then check again and still again sometimes to see if the others who shared the line had hung up? Remember how dinner was slow cooked, not zapped in black square electrical box that you dare not cook a tin foil wrapped baked potato in? How about when our parents used to visit family and friends on a slow Sunday afternoon after church or they’d come to your house, sit on the front porch and swing or rock for hours just ‘catching up’ spending time together? Remember the big round, deep purple grape flavored bubble gum that you could chew up, then blow great big bubbles with and the deep red square cinnamon candy that everybody wanted to share at school? Remember how the scariest thing on TV was ‘The Twilight Zone’? How incident life seemed back then and my, oh my, how things have changed.

Why am I talking about the good ole days? Because for the last two Wednesdays I’ve spent the day with Cindy a friend from our church whom I greatly admire. Cindy is a beautiful person inside and out and one of the performers who took part along with one of her other pretty sisters’ Terry in last year’s “Salute to Veterans” event. She is also a key figure in planning the very special ‘Salute’ again this November. Cindy will not only be a key player, co-planner, organizer and entertainer this fall but her husband John is also a veteran whom she’s very proud of. Personally, I can’t wait to see the plans to honor our veterans come to fruition. It’ll be jam packed with wonderful walks down memory lane and “if you could imagine” as Cindy says…I can tell you one thing for sure…if you’re a veteran or someone who’s loved a veteran… (I’m giving you good advice here)…don’t miss it! This very special third annual event will take place on Saturday, November 9th at 7:00 PM at Manteo First Assembly located at 812 Wingina Street (or from US Hwy. 64 – between the law firm of Aldridge, Seawell & Spence and the Dare Haven Motel). Some time ago our church acquired the old home place of “Miss” Nina Basnight, a dear lady whom most of us knew and loved from Manteo Elementary School. Public notice and ample time was given to anyone interested in acquiring and relocating the old house to an alternate location but with major repairs needed and unfortunately no takers, the house was dismantled providing open visibility to the church.

In 2011 during the early stages of our plan to host the first ‘Salute to Veterans’ event I contacted several military representatives to invite them to take part. Through those contacts, I realized that while the military is limited in its ability to participate during a ‘church’ service, this wasn’t a ‘church’ or worship service. It was an event dedicated to veterans held in a very large and special place (especially to its members and attendees) with a significant seating capacity for veterans and their family members.

In essence, we hosted that first celebration and then again in 2012 – our second event. On each occasion, our veterans were honored in every way possible and this third public ‘thank you’ for your service, dedication to our country and sacrifice will again bless your socks off!

Now folks, I ask you to attend this event for several reasons. Mostly for a chance to see the people who will turn out for you; to get in the spirit of things and embrace both the young and old participants because it’s about  you; and to feel the public appreciation that will be shown to you. P-l-e-a-s-e mark your calendars now…for Saturday, November 9, 2013 – 7:00 PM at Manteo First Assembly. Make it a family event for just less than two hours and you’ll all leave uplifted and with a renewed sense of pride…I promise. Do it for yourself first and foremost, but do it for your family who has loved you, supported you, stuck by you and who will also be celebrated as the ones who went to war too…right here at home – in their heart, their spirit and their prayers. And lastly, come to our event for me because I love you too and I want to see you there. Okay?

During the last two appointments for issuing the Dare County Veteran I. D. ‘CARD’ we  provided a list of the 18 businesses on the Outer Banks who had signed up to offer you, (our veterans), specific discounts based on presentation of your ‘CARD’. As of this past week, please add another participant to the list…NAPA stores north of Oregon Inlet now also allow you a 10% discount. Isn’t that great? Again let me re-emphasize that while I’ve intermittently listed the businesses who honor the ‘CARD’ (through GIG LINE), the list is growing weekly and until the Veterans Advisory Council is established with a dedicated link or some other means to update the ‘list’ online daily, the list will be provided through GIG LINE a minimum of one time per month. The frequency of new business additions could change that plan but remember you’re welcome to visit us for handout sheets at our I. D. CARD issuance sites. Since you may have your ‘CARD’ already, just come in and take a new printed list. Also, if you can’t locate your DD-214 (necessary to acquire a ‘CARD’) showing ‘HONORABLE’ discharge, we’ll have a hand out sheet to give you with contact sources/information to help you get a replacement. If you aren’t familiar with what a DD-214 looks like because it’s been so long since you were issued one (upon separation from service) don’t feel by yourself. We’ll be happy to give you a blank SAMPLE form so that you can re-familiarize yourself with it. And for those of you who may have interest in getting the ‘CARD’ but have concerns about Social Security numbers and identify theft…rest assured we don’t need your SS# nor do we record it. Note: the last posted ‘list’ of businesses participating in the ‘CARD’ was in GIG LINE on Sunday, August 25, 2013 as a point of reference. I suggest you consider cutting it out of that issue of the Coastland Times or stop by there to get one. They are very accommodating when it comes to back issues.

Regarding future ‘CARD’ disbursement appointments and because our turnout has been   so productive (especially lately) at the Dare County Administrative Building, Rm. 168, located at 954 Marshall C. Collins Drive (middle building in the three building complex) in Manteo, we will hold two September schedules as follows: Tuesday, September 3rd and Tuesday, September10th each day from 12:00 noon until 3:00 PM. This will accommodate lunch periods for most working folks and give veterans a three hour window to attend. The process takes from 10 – 30 minutes depending on how many veterans are ahead of you, so please come prepared with your DD-214 showing ‘HONORABLE’ discharge and your proof of local address. Jeepers…these CARD(s) will be a big help when you’re shopping or eating out so come on in and get yours soon! Also, we (Billy) will issue them at the OBX Seafood Festival on Saturday, October 19th this year, so if you’re planning to attend the Festival, bring your required paperwork and look for the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council booth.

Please remember that with the greatly increased veteran activity now in Dare County, Rhonda Creef – Dare County Veteran’s Service Officer, (who is also an assistant to the Commissioners) will be happy to dedicate time to meet with you and your spouse (if applicable) on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday to discuss obtaining a DD-214; applying for VA benefits/entitlements; address questions and to explain what a veteran’s family is entitled to upon your passing. Remember that Monday and Friday are the days she is dedicating to processing paperwork, making contacts, returning phone calls and following up with the VA on your behalf etc. I can tell you that Rhonda has shown due diligence in seeking answers and information that will provide you with the best approach to arranging VA medical appointments or VA administrative help. Barring VA workshops, seminars, meetings etc. that Rhonda is required to attend out of town, you can reach her at (252) 475-5604 or leave her a message and she’ll be happy to call you back.

Oh…guess what? The other day I was looking through my jewelry box and found both my sweetie pie Billy’s (Army) dog tags and Daddy’s (Coast Guard) dog tags and I wondered if I could get a duplicate of them made in silver at a jewelry store to wear myself in honor of Billy’s service. Just at random I called a local jewelry store that I thought might be able do inscriptions or engraving. The very nice gentleman I spoke with told me that I could select from several options varying in price, special features, customizing and silver weight. The prices he quoted in order to get that special keepsake was very reasonable, so I went over and looked through his catalogs with him and I was tickled. My birthday’s in September and I told Billy that was what I wanted. I want to wear a duplicate dog tag like his. My hope is that when I can get it, I can wear it and provoke questions from those who see it. Maybe they’ll ask me why I wear it and I can tell them this:

I wear it to show the pride I feel for my husband – the absolute love of my life; to remember his service to our country and to cherish his sacrifice; to never forget the sights he has seen or the sounds he had heard in battle; to be cognizant of the unforgettable impressions that were made on him far from home during extremely difficult times; to remember his hard work and dedication to the fight for freedom; for his retaliation against communism and its supporters – the oppressors; to consider fully his compassion for the people he was there to protect; to embrace his hope for humanity, less suffering, more tolerance and a country’s healing; I will remind whomever asks me that we are better people for what my husband and all veterans of our United States of America military has given all of us and at all costs; I will ask them to thank a veteran every chance they can get; to support them and love them and honor them; I will tell them that scars of war are not always visible and that as a nation we should take every opportunity to embrace those who have fought abroad and equally those who have served at home; I will smile and ask them to attend events in veterans honor so that all veterans can see America’s passion for freedom; I will ask them to support veterans who are disabled, missing limbs or suffering in silence and to think about what they went through; I will ask them to show their appreciation for veterans more than ever and to show them that what they went through did matter after all; I will ask them to pray for our P.O.W. and M.I.A. and then…I’ll thank them for asking.         

I am one of few people ladies who get the opportunity to write about the love I have for my husband and I know that. But I am writing not only about and for my Billy but on behalf of all the women who have stood in the wings or on their knees in prayer waiting for a word of their husband, boyfriend, father, son or brothers’ safe home coming.

Thank you all for reading GIG LINE, I really appreciate it. I cherish your letters, emails, texts and phone calls. You all mean a lot to me so please feel comfortable about calling me (252) 202-2058 or email me at editor@giglineheroes.com any time you want. You, your service and the service of your family members who have also sacrificed too is what GIG LINE is all about.

Until next time, be happy, be safe, be proud and please thank a veteran every chance you get! Say 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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