By Marsha M. Brown
Both male and female Veterans from across Dare County have been submitting applications to our Dare County Veterans Officer over the last month or so and we’re excited that a broad interest in serving on the pending Veterans Advisory Board has been expressed. That being said, thank you!
Good news! We understand that sometime this summer (hopefully in July) Veteran’s driver’s license will be eligible to depict some sort of Veteran symbol or insignia. I made a call to the N.C. DMV office in Raleigh yesterday to determine, if that is the case, when exactly it would become effective; Veteran requirements for those who may not currently have an official Veteran ID Card and if a Veteran could request a new license showing the Veteran acknowledgment prior to their current drivers license expiration if they wanted to. The representative I spoke with said they did not have all the specifics as yet, but they would know more the closer we get to July. I will stay on top of this and keep you posted because it’s another step toward greater overall Veteran recognition.
Speaking of that, at the event we attended in Charlotte at the end of March there were literally countless vendors. Many of the wagons, tents or tables with umbrellas featured non-profit organizations that introduced all sorts of programs, goods or services to promote better health, care and well being for Veterans of all ages and service status. It inspired us to think more about a future event for Dare County where our Veterans could find easy access to many of the venues for help, advice and direction. When we got home I made numerous phone calls to Raleigh to inquire as to sources of vendor contacts, many of which we never got a chance to personally see. I spoke with several people who kindly made helpful suggestions that I’ve since followed up on and I’m happy to say we have a greathead start. We now have over one hundred contact sources. Yippee!! We’re rolling!
In addition, I thought about the USO and their part in sponsoring the ‘Vietnam Veterans Homecoming Celebration’, so, I called to personally thank them. I shared what the event had meant to Billy and I and realized quickly that the Rep I spoke with was interested not only in what I had to say but in how we perceived the event itself. Through our discussion, I explained that I wanted to learn more about the USO because ‘it’ was the beginning of something very meaningful in my life many years ago.
I told her that it was at a USO dance back in the late 1940’s that my Mama and Daddy met and fell madly in love at first sight! Yes, it’s true! After meeting that night and ‘tripping the light fantastic’ a few times, they were married only three weeks later and together for 27 years until the day she died. I could tell the Rep appreciated my short story and in her voice I could see her smiling. Further discussion helped me to better understand the role of the USO and how the organization worked overall. The outcome of that conversation resulted in our plans to get together before too long where Billy and I will show them around Dare County and potential venues for future events. Isn’t that great? We’re tickled!!
Just to be clear, because I have such a close relationship with a Vietnam Veteran doesn’t mean that I forget in any way all of our Veterans – those who served during Pearl Harbor, World War II, the Korean War or the battles we’ve fought so recently. All Veterans are awesome, incredible people who have seen and accomplished amazing things; all are as important as the other; all of our Veterans are why we have the peace we take for granted every day without even realizing it. That’s why we do GIG LINE- to remind us of those battles, those sacrifices and those incredible men and women who have served.
Last November at our event entitled “A Salute to Our Veterans & Armed Forces” hosted by our church, First Assembly of God – Manteo, one of our Praise Team members sung “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B” as a dedication to our attending WWII Veterans. She was dressed in an olive drab costume almost identical to the ones worn by the Andrew Sisters back in the 40’s…remember them? The WWII Veterans who were there tapped their feet, patted their knees, clapped their hands and grinned from ear to ear! It made them happy and that made us happy! They later told us it brought them back to the happy times and special friendships from ‘back in the day’. How special is that? What a blessing the WWII Veterans were to all of us that night!
This year on Saturday, November 3rd, we will again present a big and v-e-r-y special Veteran celebration at our church, so please mark your calendar and plan to attend. I can assure you right now, that you won’t want to miss it!
Also, this coming June 8th at 7PM at our church, we will host a 1.5 hour concert (with no intermission) to be performed by the 12 piece ensemble ‘Rhythm In Blue’ from the U.S.A.F. – Langley featuring music of the big band era. As they say, “we’re cooking with gas!” See what we have to look forward to? Don’t forget to write to me at [email protected] if you have questions or comments. Until next time, stay tuned…