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

Spring Flowers – Gig Line #98


By Marsha M. Brown

I don’t know about the rest of you but this ole girl is well known among family and friends as a self professed ‘Peep’-a-holic. I like yellow Peeps especially but I’ll take purple, green or pink any day of the week. I don’t know why I love the soft fluffy chick and bunny confections so much…but clear the aisles folks…its April and wherever you see those sweet marshmallow morsels…I’m not too far away! Yummm-my!

Besides anticipating my favorite ‘Peeps’ April is also the time we think of spring and flowers and new beginnings. We all need new beginnings, fresh starts and a new awareness of the people and things around us…or at least I do. Awareness…yep, it causes us to consider and be grateful for what we have…or what we had…where we are and where we were…and where we’ve been and where we’re going. It also invokes thoughts of who we were with when we were there…you know? For example, when I was little and we lived in Florida, Daddy was in the U. S. Coast Guard and just as clear as day, I can remember Mama sitting at her sewing machine making my sister and me our Easter dresses out of her favorite fabric …dotted Swiss. I remember fluffy crinolines and dying Easter eggs and going to family events and picnics. At the sound of the whistle, I remember charging from the start line and running as if my britches were on fire to find the colorful eggs that weren’t all that secretly hidden and filling my basket for the final count. I remember my sweet parents encouraging me to keep looking even when it appeared all the eggs had been found…”Keep looking Marsha…keep looking” they’d say. I loved my parents so much. I loved the safe happy little home we shared in St. Petersburg and Miami. I cherish those memories of Daddy in his crisp white uniform…he was so handsome. The 50’s were a truly wonderful time to grow up.  

I don’t know about you all but I hope your childhood was happy too. I hope you had a family that believed in holding hands and a kiss on the cheek before bed each night hearing the last words spoken being…’I love you’. I hope you had a home that was peaceful and safe and that you said ‘grace’ before you ate together at the table and that the first thing you did when you got home was to have a parent that wanted to hear how school was that day; and that you never talked back to your Mom and Dad. I hope you were taught to share your toys and to give to other kids that didn’t have any. I hope you learned that the Easter bunny was like Santa Claus…something special but miniscule in light of the bigger celebration and reason for the season. I hope you were raised to admire our American flag and to know that it was a truly b-i-g deal. And I hope you felt safe and secure knowing that whatever state you grew up in was a part of the big picture…the United States a proud and mighty nation under God.

I guess what I’m getting around to is that wherever we are at this time in our life we have seen changes. We’ve love and lost dear and wonderful people in our lives; we’ve learned that from day to day things change both with our influence and input and without; that when we give we’re better than when we take; that much of who and what we are is because of others who helped make us ‘us’ and that we live in a country that gives us the opportunity to be the best we can be…if we want.

I’m thankful folks…for so many things in my life. Have my sweetie pie Billy and I been through hard times? Sad times? Rough spots? when we didn’t know which way to turn? You better believe it but you know what they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…right? In my prayers I thank God for many things some of which include thankfulness that we know His love, mercy and forgiveness; that we have a beautiful family; that Billy made it back from one of the darkest, scariest and most challenging places and times in his life…Vietnam and that God has allowed us to spend this time in our lives doing something we love…supporting veterans all across Dare County…I thank God that He gave us the opportunity to do that. You know why? Because each and every time we issue a Veteran I.D. Card, we can look into the eyes of the veteran and say ‘Thank you’. We can shake their hand or hug them and tell them that their sacrifice mattered to more people than they’ll ever know. Through GIG LINE, I can share with you weekly that your life matters and knowing that you read my column about the men and women who have served us all truly touches my life.

I told you all over a year ago that things were changing for Dare County vets and I wasn’t kidding. Just knowing the American Legion and V.F.W. Post located in Kill Devil Hills will be available to all veterans who want to stop by for coffee, friendship or “just to talk” from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM five days a week is monumental (the starting date is pending but will begin this month) and when you go, you’ll see how the members at the Legion  have spiffed things up, made significant changes inside some of which might surprise you; knowing that the Dare Arts Council is again investigating new, creative ways to celebrate the service of our veterans this year and that the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council is signing up new veterans for their discount ‘CARD’ weekly and just knowing Rhonda Creef, Veteran Service Officer is slammed with veteran requests on a daily basis…is all proof that I was right.

Newsflash! Very Important! Please mark your calendars for Saturday, April 19th. The DAV (Disabled American Veterans) veteran advocacy and support group will host an event at the Outer Banks Harley-Davidson, 8739 Caratoke Hwy. 158, Harbinger, N.C. 27941 between the hours of 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Everyone is invited to attend the event where the DAV’s Mobile Service Office personnel will be onsite to talk with veterans about their VA claims and concerns. If you’d like more info in advance of the event, you can call them at (336-631-5481) or check out their website at DAV.org and once in there, put your cursor on VETERANS and see EVENTS. You might also want to read about their mission and about joining their well respected organization. Billy and others from Dare County will be there and so should you! It’s a great time for meeting other veterans and chewing the fat…or ‘Peeps! J   

As usual be happy, be safe and be proud…a lot is being done to show you that Dare County folks care about you and what you’ve done for us! Thank a veteran each and every day and look for ways to show them how special they are. Keep reading GIG LINE to keep abreast of veteran news and events and if you’d like your Veteran I.D. Card come on Wednesday between 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM to the Dare County Administrative Bldg., 954 Marshall C. Collins Dr., Manteo, Rm. 142 and bring your DD-214 showing HONORABLE discharge or separation from service and your Driver’s License (or alternate proof of local address). That’s it! We don’t keep it, we only look at it.

In the meantime, take care and folks more news is in the making…so 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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