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

Stars and Stripes – Gig Line #76


By Marsha M. Brown

When I was a little girl and we lived in Miami while Daddy was in the U. S. Coast Guard, I liked to look at myself in the mirror…not because I thought I was pretty or anything like that but rather because I liked to practice making faces.

My sister ragged me about it and thought I was a prissy pot but that wasn’t it at all. Back then the celebrities I watched on TV starred in ‘Sea Hunt’, ‘Queen for a Day’, ‘The Millionaire’, ‘Jungle Jim’ and ‘Howdy Doody’. But…just the same I liked to pretend just for moments at the time and play. My reflection in the mirror was just to see if I could make a face or show an emotion that looked convincing.

One day I decided I would make my acting ‘debut’ and pretend that I had vanished. I went outside and picked a perfect place to hide. It was an ideal shady, cool spot between our house and the big, thick Hibiscus bush Daddy had nurtured for years.

I squatted down and hid. Bye and bye I heard my name called out…I didn’t answer. Not long after, I heard it again…”Marsha…Marsha…where are you?” again, I didn’t answer. I sat there tickled that my disappearing act was working. Then, still hidden under the green leaves and tropical flowers I sat…quietly. Soon my sister began circling the house calling my name…’round and round she goes’ I thought until she ran back in the house and my Mama came out crying. Just about the time I started to emerge and tell her that I was just playing, when a cop car pulled up in front of the house and Mama ran toward them bawling her eyes out proclaiming I had been kidnapped. Well…obviously that plan of mine backfired. It wasn’t funny after all. I had made my sweet Mama worry unnecessarily and cry. I felt like a creep…a little creep but one just the same. I was an innocent little girl that felt terrible.  

Mama realized I was OK when I wrapped my arms around her waist to tell her I was sorry…then she cried even more. In other words I came to understand promptly that acting wasn’t for me. I realized that being myself and being real was more important than being fake and phony. Since that time in the early 50’s, I haven’t tried to be’ invisible’ again or try to be something I’m not…honestly. I say what I mean and I mean what I say. When I tell you that the complexion has changed, improved and awakened for veterans in Dare County…it’s no joke.  I see it, hear it and most of all I feel it almost every day.

In this past week I’ve spoken to veterans who have been frustrated with attempts to seek medical care through the VA; I’ve spoken to veterans who realized the importance of registering their DD-214 with the Register of Deeds office; I’ve talked to veterans who said ‘thank you’ for the work the Veterans Advisory Council has done promoting the Veteran I. D. Card and for the money they’ve saved using their ‘Card’; I’ve heard from veterans wives who are glad the love of their lives are seeking benefits or compensation for what they feel are long overdue acknowledgements of their husband’s service and sacrifice; I was told by several veterans recently that some of the businesses they’ve been to lately actually asked them (the veteran) if they had gotten their I. D. Card…WOW! That’s pretty significant when you consider the business is discounting their profit in order to share it with veterans…its n-i-c-e that Dare County businesses care.

 I’ve also heard from veterans who share my love of writing, who are also interested in expressing their feelings, experiences and heartfelt concerns for veterans overall. And… families have talked to me who feel that the topic and reference to our faith, prayer and relationship to God is important if not vital to remain a part of our military.

Personally I don’t believe in pushing religion or ‘my’ faith on anyone. But fortunately I came to know the Lord and I sought a personal relationship with Him a long time ago…in the 1960’s in fact…and since that time, my faith has grown more and more. How? How have men gone into battle not knowing the outcome without hope, faith and prayer? knowing enemies have lurked in dense jungles and mountain sides riddled with caves and terrorist secret hiding places? or when they’re under the ocean blue a gazillion miles from shore, surface, or real fresh air without having faith they will again surface, see the sun, fill their lungs? Get my drift? It’s all about faith baby!

When you get the chance, please go online and enter: ‘Thirteen Folds of the Flag’, then read it; when you look at a dollar bill, read each and every word…when you look at a veteran, notice how many wear a cross or a crucifix…just open your eyes and look around. Faith…hope and belief in the future and beyond our life here…is no joke.   

I’m not preaching and I respect everyone’s point of view…but when it comes to my faith…maybe it’s more that I’m bragging. Maybe I’m bragging that I’m happy knowing that someone way bigger than me is there listening, caring and who has shown me time and time again through miraculous occurrences in my life that prayers are answered…one way or the other…but in His time not mine.

You, GIG LINE and the wonderful men and women of our military who inspire me are blessings in my life. The unbelievably brave men who stormed the beaches at Normandy, the nurses who rendered care, comfort and words of encouragement to wounded soldiers on bloody cots in Vietnam, the Chaplains and Priests who have prayed with the suffering and dying over all these years are heroes too. All that they have done to stand strong, determined and faithful must endure the test of time…for all of our sakes.

Remember, Tuesday Nov. 5th, (Voting Day) in Manteo, we’ll be at the Administrative Building in Rm. 142 from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM during the only time its available that day to issue Veteran I. D. Cards. Please take the opportunity to come in and see us with your DD-214, proof of local address and get your ‘Card’ if you haven’t already. We’ll be looking for you!

Thank you for reading GIG LINE folks. You mean more to me than I can tell you! Call us if we can be of help or write to me at editor@giglineheroes.com In the meantime though, find a veteran and thank them, be happy, be safe and be proud – we live in the most wonderful country there is – we live among fellow, courageous American veterans. 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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