By Marsha M. Brown
It’s truly wonderful to see constant reminders…through pictures, videos and testimonies of the heroism, dedication and selfless acts of kindness from our first responders to our medical professionals, to our law enforcement, clergy and to the community volunteers of all ages who have inspired and executed ways to help others through this horror.
The emotional heartfelt appreciation shown by fire & rescue personnel with their big long red fire trucks on side streets honoring nurses and doctors as they enter the ‘war zone’…the emergency rooms…to face another day of seeing the elderly, those with health challenges prior to COVID-19 having taken hold and even the healthiest among us who struggle to live hour-after-hour-after-hour beyond the killer virus.
For two months now we’ve been dealing with this and hearing testimonies of family members restricted from giving bedside comfort to the ones loved so much; not being able to hold their hand; kiss their cheek or even get close enough to whisper in their ear ‘Goodbye honey, I love you so much and I’ll see you in Heaven’. How heartbreaking, how unfathomable until only a couple of months ago that we could ever be in this position…limited on medical supplies at the pharmacies, limited on meats and toilet paper at the grocery stores and restricted from sharing the last few breaths of life with family members and friends in their last minutes in this world.
It’s hard for all of us to take in and sometimes we feel like we need a break from the barrage of tears, obvious real life struggles and the witness of grief for loved ones passing, hearts and even finances…empty; but then, I still find myself turning the news back on again hoping to hear something positive…and I do! I see the beautiful displays of love, concern, care and people with goals to find a way to end this astronomical burden by all means and measures. Examples of simple kindness that keeps us lifted up through it all fill my eyes and my heart feels good again…optimism and encouragement that as Americans we do truly stick together at the worst of times and that gladness overshadows the negative. We pray for each other, for those we know who have touched our heart and our soul throughout our lives and we pray for complete strangers too…that recovery and restoration of health will be their fate.
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We are Americans who have been knocked down, yes…and so often over the last weeks we have seen that being on our knees, literally in prayer can bring peace and hope. Even our young people…college students, teenagers and even younger have cared enough to brainstorm ways and means to collect food to distribute throughout communities; sports legends have united to donate money or food to children who depend on the one substantial meal a day they get when they’re in school – not having been now for some time.
This whole mess has shocked our systems…created fear for many, made us feel more vulnerable for different reasons but it has also made us more appreciative of what we have – namely each other, our faith, our hope as a nation, our desire to help each other and for the blessing of our very life. Because of this situation, we’ll probably all look upon delivery personnel in a more respectful and different way…folks just trying to keep their family fed and a roof over their heads…doing their job…we sure have taken a lot for granted. Life…tic toc, tick toc…it is so precious.
Perhaps we will come out stronger and better equipped for unexpected emergencies; maybe we’ll think twice about all who have left this world having given it their all and more deeply value each and every one around us; maybe we’ll put the negative crap aside and just deal with the real truths holding each other’s hand (with gloves on of course) tighter, be more closely bonded, more energized and ready to dig in and prepare for the future on the offensive.
Through all of this, we have learned about the great numbers of veterans who lost their battle with COVID-19, who’s family hasn’t gotten the chance to hear T.A.P.S. played over their body or their ashes…yet, but later that day will come. We still have today, and we have tomorrow, and we can decide right now to make the best of both. We can love each other more deeply, continue the talks we’ve shared inside our homes, over the telephone and on the Internet and continue them beyond the recovery; take time for spouses and children at the dinner table or set aside an hour or two on a weekend; we can decide now that we will strive to be more grateful, more eager to serve in whatever capacity we are able and to stand up for our country, our leaders, each other, our veterans and our Lord more boldly than ever before.
Thank you to all of you who have made masks to help us on the Outer Banks block that vicious germ and avoid the “invisible enemy” as President Trump calls it. Thank you for being thoughtful accepting little money only to cover fabric and sewing notions just to give the masks away. Thank you for your big part in helping to keep us safe and COVID-19 free.
With each veteran I talk to or issue a Dare County Veteran Discount Card to, I will ask if they have a mask, it they do not, I may need to acquire some just for our vets. We need to preserve these beautiful men and women who have already sacrificed so much for us and help keep them safe. If you make them to sell, please contact me as to price on my cell: (252) 202-2058 or email me at [email protected] At the last count per Raleigh, Dare County had over 4,000 veterans here, so I might need a bunch especially for future reference and protection of military ‘treasures’. I am but a veteran advocate and volunteer devoted to the honor of all veterans of this great United States of America.
Please consider calling Patty O’Sullivan, Dare County Veteran Service Officer (V.S.O.) at (252) 475-5604 or email her at [email protected] for official veteran related guidance and help. Patty can assist you with acquiring a duplicate DD-214, discuss your medical history and options you may not be aware of currently. She can also assist you in submitting a V.A. Disability Claim as a result of your service.
Until next time be happy, be safe and be proud. As Americans united, we are going to whip this COVID-19 and whip it G-O-O-D! God bless you all and as always, I love you! Stay tuned!