By Marsha M. Brown
I don’t know about you all but for the last two weeks most of us have thought back to the unforgettable day of September 11th. We’ve thought about what we were doing, where we were at the time we first heard…and how we felt.
It’s painful to look back on that unforgettable day but somehow we seem drawn to do it anyway. The other night while surfing the TV, we stopped on the History Channel featuring “102 Minutes That Changed America”. I was amazed at the mirrored reaction of nearly every person who was taped that day. People of all ages…all nationalities in the melting pot – New York – standing there at first frozen in time and place, looking up with their mouths wide open, while their hands gravitated to cover it, their eyes fixed in desperate stares and faces framed in shock and disbelief…and I considered the horrible act against our country and our families. Then, my mind switched from the dim, dark and rotten deal we were dealt to see more clearly the good of that day – the hearts of Americans united in kindness, care and protection of others; the love between real Americans…one for another. The outstretched hands offering help to strangers, the arm in arm carrying of women, the shoulders of men leaned on by many, the breathless run for shelter and safety…and the faces of all trying to grasp what had just happened.
In GIG LINE last year at this same time I also wrote about 9/11. I couldn’t help it. I’ll never forget how we felt knowing that our daughter Bonnie was in the air that morning. I remember the sheer terror my sweetie pie Billy and I felt until we could hear her sweet voice assuring us that she was okay. I’ll be ever mindful of how I mourned for the Mom’s & Dad’s that will never hear that kind of reassurance from their son or daughter again. It’s hard to think about that day but darn it, we need to be reminded, over and over again so that we never take what we have and who we are for granted again. Little time passed before our proud red, white and blue rose above the ashes and rubble that day but then again…it will always and forever rise above the ashes…no matter what. We are fighters for the good; we are resilient and we are the very best of the best.
Speaking of rising up, the V. F. W. (Veterans of Foreign Wars) is being revitalized or “re-born” in Dare County. The meetings are scheduled for the third Wednesday of each month with the most recent having taken place last Wednesday, September 18th (same location where the American Legion Fort Raleigh Post 26 meets) 302 W. Lake Dr., Kill Devil Hills (turn off the by-pass by ‘T-Tops’- 2nd building on the right). Their next meeting will be on October 16th at 7:00 p.m. While the number of veterans in attendance was rather small, its just getting ‘back in gear’ as they say and there’s no question attendance will increase. Why? Because (per Raleigh) there are several thousand veterans who reside in Dare County many of whom have served overseas and who seek the common bond between others who have also. Besides that, I can’t tell you the times (since issuing the Veteran I. D. Cards) we’ve been asked where the V.F.W. and the American Legion groups meet. You know what that means? that veteran’s care; that they want to conjugate, talk, swap stories and support each other. Who understands the military better than the men and women who have served? Networking to get them together at meetings, events, parades and on special holidays would be nice wouldn’t it? If you’re a veteran, please make an effort to attend one or all of the meetings that care about you. You know the old saying, “There’s strength in numbers”.
While researching the V.F.W. over the Internet, I saw one site (www.V.F.W.org) that explained that the organization was a result of veterans who banded together growing their membership of 5,000 in 1915 to 200,000 in 1936. WOW! In essence and in reading further, I learned that the V.F.W. helped in the establishment of the Veterans Administration, the G.I. Bill, development of the National Cemetery, compensation for Vietnam Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange and the Gulf War Syndrome diagnosis. Billy attended the meeting and joined the V.F.W. that night. He has also received calls from others who are eager to join as well. Billy has very much enjoyed spending time at The American Legion Fort Raleigh Post 26 meetings and the friendships that have evolved as a result. He encourages all veterans in Dare County to establish new memberships or revive old ones and to get involved. He looks forward to spending time with fellow Legion members as well as the Fraternal of Eagles that he’s a part of too. Whenever an opportunity presents itself for him to invite others to join in, he does so and enthusiastically. These groups need your support folks so they can survive, flourish and grow to do good things for our veterans and their families.
FYI – when we distribute the Dare County Veteran I. D. ‘CARD’, we now also give handout sheets as to where you can use it for discounts, along with a list of veteran related meeting sites, dates for special events and a sample of a DD-214. So, if you have your ‘CARD’ but need updates or other help please stop by during the times we’re at the Administration Building – on Tuesday’s:
October 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th Rm. 168 (downstairs) 12 noon – 3:00 p.m.
November 5th Voting Day alternative Rm. 238 (upstairs/elevator) 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
November 12th, 19th, 26th back in Rm. 168 (downstairs) 12 noon – 3:00 p.m.
December 3rd, 10th, 17th Rm. 168 (downstairs) 12 noon – 3:00 p.m.
If you have question in the interim, please call me 202-2058 or contact Rhonda Creef, Dare County Veteran Service Officer: (252) 475-5604.
Also, thanks to the County of Dare and our local government Channel 20, veterans will be promoted further and soon! Interviews have been taking place this past week about veteran related resources etc. Topics have included the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council and the new Veteran I. D. Card (exclusive only to Dare County veterans). Before too long we expect to see a link that will further enable you to stay abreast of additional businesses who partner with the discount Veteran I. D. Card via the Internet.
P-L-E-A-S-E don’t forget to save the date for Saturday, November 9th 7:00 p.m. in Manteo…the “Salute to Veterans” event is going to really be a whopper! And I can’t wait!!!! Be happy, be safe, be proud and thank a veteran every chance you get…we owe them (you) our debt of gratitude each and every day! Lots of new things are coming your way, so until next time my friends…stay tuned.