By Marsha M. Brown
When I settle in to write GIG LINE each week, I don’t just pull words from the air or throw sentences out like spaghetti to a wall to see if it sticks. I first talk to the Lord and ask him to lead me to write what he’d want me to convey in the hope that it will make a difference in someone’s life or help them in some way.
In past weeks I’ve heard a lot of people talk about how life had changed as they had known it and how sad or troubled they were because of it. I looked back as well.
In our home, my parents didn’t demand that I go to church…but they raised me to believe in God…which made me want to go on my own; the subject of religion, fire or brimstone wasn’t crammed down my throat but I grew up believing that there are consequences for my actions; an example was set for me to love everyone and to believe that I was not above another person…but nor was I below them either; I was raised to look upon our flag and her bold red, white and blue colors with pride and that desecrating ‘her’ in any way would be all but punishable by death…a horrible and nearly unforgiveable thing to do…and I was inspired to believe that the red stood for our soldiers blood – the blue for the deep, true blue spirit of America and the white for the light of peace. I also felt it stood not only for our country but for something mighty and powerful and worthy of respect; I was raised to look upon every single person who wore a uniform of the United States of America as brave, decent, strong, tough…really tough, dedicated, loyal and proud; our American flag made me feel protected, safe and good.
When my Daddy wore his U. S. Coast Guard uniform I thought he was absolutely the most handsome man in the whole wide world and not only did I love him but I looked up to him and respected him; when my Uncle Bill wore his U. S. Marine Corp uniform I thought he looked as sharp as a tack and I knew his uniform was christened…from the tears that fell after he had served in Korea; when I was 17, I fell madly in love with my sweetie pie Billy and I came to cherish and deeply appreciate his U. S. Army uniform because I knew he had worn it during very trying times in Vietnam and that it was his ‘badge of honor’. Years later, my sister was swept off her feet by a Ret. U. S. Navy guy who always referenced his tenure with fondness and unmistakable pride; when I became intricately involved with veterans in 2011, I grew fond of a retired U. S. Air Force man who spoke of his joy…no…more like his elation…of still being able to fit into a uniform that he had been proud to wear and it made me smile. And when a good friend of ours from church so proudly spoke about his brief service in the National Guard because of an unexpected health problem that prevented him from fulfilling the military career he had dreamed of …I was touched.
Times were good growing up…watching TV programs that taught discretion, good manners, kindness to others, American values and family tradition. Isn’t it funny how things have changed? Well…no, strike that…it ISN’T funny! Our overall desire to get rid of the old and bring in the new took us from “a one-a and a two-a and a three-a” famous words from Lawrence Welk and “Mighty Mouse is on his way”…to watching two complete strangers run as naked as jay birds through the deserts and rain forests on a quest to survive and a variety of shows that keep your finger on or near the MUTE button on the remote more often than not.
Do you realize what challenging ‘tradition’ has brought us to? To the point of little children being punished at school for saying ‘bless you’ to another classmate who sneezed; to serious complaints against a young boy’s lemonade stand; to stiff fines threatened against patriotic veteran homeowners who display their American flag on the front of their house; to being considered too conservative if ‘God’ is even referenced in many public settings; to the removal of Bibles from lodging facilities and to way, way, way too many people being afraid to pray in public because it might ‘offend’ a non believer…ex-cuzzzzze me! Oh and let’s not forget that enabling a few people to have their way to dampen, bypass or prohibit a show of faith in public is…can I have your attention folks? Asinine! What the heck? What has happened to us? Oh yes…come to think about it…guess it all started back when a lady had a problem with prayer in schools…hummmmm…I’m sick of this! Let me put this in perspective.
Prayer changes things…not always as we hope…but frequently…and in one way or the other…for good…and if not immediately…eventually; miracles? what about unexplained healings that confound doctors? what about financial help that comes out of nowhere just when folks have no where to turn?
Its OK to call me old fashioned, ‘stuck in time’ or whatever you like but you can’t call me ‘wishy washy’. I believe in the Lord and in His divine plan for our lives, I believe it is our faith as a nation that set us apart a long time ago and that it’s what made people love and want to live here with us. I hold fast to the truth that for the most part, we care about each other as Americans more than we care about ourselves and I believe that men and women in the military and children in school should be free to express their believe in God without retribution…just my opinion.
Remember our principals and that while some change is good…not all traditions are bad. No matter our view on politics or our financial status and regardless of our overall position in life…we are but “one nation under God”.
Please support our local American Legion Post 26. Those guys are actively doing
G-R-E-A-T things for our vets (both local and visitors too). They’ve been taking turns to man the Post daily on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10:00 AM -12:00 noon and on Wednesday each week Dare County veterans can get their Dare County Veteran I. D. Card entitling them to 30+ local business location discounts (DD-214 showing Honorable Discharge & local Driver’s License is required). Also, if you’re a veteran who did NOT retire or if you do NOT have a V.A. Health Card, this Card will show that you are a veteran and make you eligible for discounts if the business offers veteran discounts. Join or transfer your American Legion and/or V.F.W. membership while you’re at the Post (302 W. Lake Dr., Kill Devil Hills – west side bypass behind T-Tops Souvenir Shop) and pick up a most recent V.A. Veteran Benefits booklet. There are a lot of things you can do for our veterans (whether you served in the military or not). Please call them at (252) 715-4251 and if they don’t answer, please leave a message or call me (252) 202-2058 for questions/info/sources of referral. To file a V.A. claim, contact our Veteran Service Officer Rhonda Creef at (252) 475-5604 to set up a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday appointment with her in Manteo.
Until next time…be happy, be safe, be proud and hug a veteran! God bless and we love you all!