By Marsha M. Brown
If you read a military service-related magazine through a membership subscription or even if you just borrow one, the expressions of gratitude for our service men and women is abundant. The contents inspire everyone who wants to help spread the word about veteran support across North Carolina and beyond.
Stories and accounts of one veteran helping another; prayers offered for those who have health challenges; meetings that draw together veterans with P.T.S.D. to just “talk”; articles about fund raising events to help vets struggling financially and special activities among the spouses and family members of those deployed go a long way toward lifting spirits and celebrating our veterans and their sacrifice.
The magazines are a way to connect veterans together who share many of the same thoughts, memories, heartaches, laughter and friendship…no…I take that back…brother and sisterhood. If you aren’t already a member of any of the respected organizations, please think about it.
In Dare County, we have a mighty veteran community. Our men and women love each other, care about each other’s health status, emotional well-being, and they have each other’s backs. Having attended some of their annual fund-raising events and having witnessed first-hand the devotion they have for each other and the group(s) itself is impressive. They’re committed to help whenever they can and most importantly…as much as they can.
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They care personally and collectively about our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren hoping to influence good in their lives; set positive examples and to inspire them to consider perhaps a military career or at least support of our armed forces as they go through life; they create contests to encourage our youth to research and think about what we have accomplished in our nation’s history thanks to the courage and dedication of our veterans; and they establish scholarships to help students with educational goals; they offer support to family members who are dealing with potential loss of their veteran spouse or loved one – comforting them, offering help and being there through the final hours; then, whenever possible they jump in and assist providing a colour guard, Taps, the Thirteen Folds Ceremony and other measures of respect at the veteran’s final celebration of life.
Obviously, our veteran community is “all that and a bag of chips” as they say. But folks…this is the deal…veterans and veteran organizations MUST know that you’re a vet…they must know your or your veteran friend’s needs to be able to act on it. Please remember that. Please don’t stay to yourself isolated and exempt of veteran company. If anybody understands how you feel, why you feel as you do and who would want the best for you as your brother or sister, it’s a fellow veteran. And because everybody (unless you tell them) doesn’t always know you served, where you served or what you went through…it’s kind of hard to feel “in the fold”.
My sweet Billy, a Vietnam veteran during the Tet Offensive held a lot of heartache inside throughout our marriage and he pretty well kept it under wraps, rarely speaking about that 2 year nightmare in his life…then…because of another Vietnam veteran friend who saw in Billy that he should consider ‘talking to someone’ Billy did…and he was better for it.
For the last few years of Billy’s life, he ‘talked with someone’; met on a regular basis with other Vietnam veterans and veterans from other wars and conflicts too and I saw Billy smile more often and somehow seem to feel better inside until the time of his passing. I am thankful for that special and wonderful veteran who cared enough about my husband to step out, not knowing how he would respond, and encourage him like he did; I will never, ever forget that…his thoughtfulness of my Billy…and of his ‘brother’ was a precious blessing to both of us.
I loved my husband “to the moon and back” as they say – a hundred million times, we were like two peas in a pod and quite honestly, I thought I knew every single molecule and fiber of his being…but I didn’t see in him the extent of his pain like a fellow veteran who had been through it too.
Please…please…if you’ve thought about counseling but you could never quite bring yourself to…just know this…if my husband, my beautiful inside and out husband Billy were here today, he would encourage his fellow vets to go also so they could see and feel the confidence that their secrets stayed a secret and that they would be sharing deep down feelings that their fellow comrades understand, grasped and may also share along beside them. I’m not an expert, not a psychologist or anything like that, I’m just a wife who adored her husband and I’m merely suggesting veterans as a whole think about it.
You are such special men and women and you are loved more than you know. Do something good for yourself for a change…talk to a fellow vet or contact Patty O’Sullivan, Dare County Veteran Service Officer (V.S.O.) at (252) 475-5604. She’s there to help you, guide you and support you getting whatever help you might need. She’s an awesome lady and someone I’m proud to call my friend.
Until next time, just know that I love you all and that I’m grateful for your service to our country and for the fact you take the time out of your busy day to read, GIG LINE. Be happy, be proud of who you are; you are tough and respected beyond measure. God bless you and your family and if you want to call or write to me: cell: (252) 202-2058 or email: [email protected] Stay tuned.