By Marsha M. Brown
Every writer who cares about the content of their material considers how it could affect their reader. Based on the feedback I get frequently GIG LINE readers enjoy it; however some whom I don’t hear from might find it boring, all about my ‘sweetie pie’ or just a good sleeping aide. Regardless I wanted to take this opportunity to help everyone understand what GIG LINE really is…a love story.
Initially the first story written in 2012 was a tribute to my husband Billy. It recalled his coming home from Vietnam as a Pastor’s son. It identified my naïve and almost oblivious overview of the war and how one night after we were married and in just a few words Billy opened my eyes to the reality of what he and other Vietnam veterans had been through. It was a night of shame on my part for not having taken things more seriously even at 17. Boys not much older than me had been sent there and expected to do their jobs protecting lives by taking lives. The unthinkable was common practice in order to protect not only the lives of the South Vietnamese but the lives of their buddies before their own. It went on to describe the feelings he had and the deep heart felt appreciation he felt for the honor, privilege and blessing of just coming home…truly coming home.
Following what was supposed to be a one time story in The Coastland Times, the response was good and soon after GIG LINE was birthed as a Sunday weekly column.
However, I recently thought even more seriously about my column – the history of what I had written and the goals I hope to achieve through it. Taking it all in brought me to the conclusion that GIG LINE is nothing short of a continuing love story. But this love stretches far beyond my true love for Billy, it extends on to each of you who have served too because you have also inspired me, touched my heart and changed my life.
I write about Billy – a lot but not just he’s my husband, a Christian man and former a former U. S. Army Sergeant who served in Vietnam, I’m proud of how he’s reached out to fellow vets. I’m moved by the fact that all of you who I see fairly often have reached back also to connect with brothers and sisters showing solidarity and unity across Dare County. Many of you…no, I take that back…all of you have made an impression on me even when you’re silent…even when you don’t talk a lot about your experiences at war…even when you choose not to acknowledge that you’ve experienced combat…it doesn’t matter, you are all a light in my life and I sincerely love you.
More often than not GIG LINE includes announcements of scheduled veteran events; reminders of Outer Banks V.F.W. Post 10950, American Legion Post 26 and the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council meetings; veteran sponsored fund raisers; celebrations during patriotic holidays; Veterans Writing events and the times of memorial services at gravesites. Sometimes I write about how to acquire a Dare County Veteran
I. D. Card and always…always my column is long…r-e-a-l-l-y long, right? But that’s because I love you and I want you to know as much as I can squeeze into my two typed page column every Sunday.
And there’s something else I’ve thought about that I want to be sure you all understand too. When I write about the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council it’s because I’m proud of it…not because GIG LINE is an official report or recordation of the meetings… nor was it ever intended to be. I talk about the Council because members and associates who attend regularly are dedicated people (primarily veterans) who care about you and finding ways to honor and support you. Members and public members who are involved do so strictly on a voluntary basis. Everybody can’t attend the meetings so when I can, I tend to summarize things the Council does on veteran’s behalf in GIG LINE. Besides…
the Council is just that – an Advisory Council. The Mission Statement of the Council is clear but beyond that my best unofficial explanation of the Council’s work is to help our veterans feel our pride in them; to refer them to qualified sources of help & information in particular Veterans Service Office Rhonda Creef (252) 475-5604; to help unite our veterans one with another; and to educate the general public about the great number of truly awesome veterans we have in Dare County…4,000 plus.
Also, the special events I reference in GIG LINE are not sponsored by nor the responsibility of the Council. Other than distributing V.A. benefit booklets and issuing Veteran I.D. Card(s) at Dare Day and OBX Seafood Festival or at business sites who invite us I describe activities that I know about or recommend you attend so that you can go and be celebrated as veterans. The special events honoring the service of our great men and women and remembrance of our fallen mostly come as a result of our red blooded Americans who love our country, who want to remind us that it is what it is because of our veterans being who they are and for the enormous price they have paid for us for decades.
If I wrote a wish list for our vets overall, it would begin something like this:
(1) all, without exception, military personnel be canvassed independently for their best recommendations to improve morale, equipment, strategies to entice/increase recruitment – that’s because men & women who willingly step out to serve today are brave, smart and capable of creating new, innovative ideas and because they have a lot invested already – they’re in it to win it (2) support our armed forces above all else – they are our national line of defense after all and I’d cut budgets projects studying the effects of a shrimp running on a treadmill…come on…couldn’t our military use expenditures like that to train/provide for/equip our military? (3) allow provision for all Americans to post or position at least one American flag on their work or home premises if they so desire without threat of law suit or retribution (4) that emblems, symbols of our Christian faith no longer be compromised or threatened into extinction because it might “offend” someone and (5) that we re-group, take on the love of country…and tighten our bond against all that suppresses our patriotism, our rights, our beliefs, our faith and our American spirit…just for starters. I could go on…an on you know.
No matter the political position or platform…what matters is that we stick together, remember the American spirit during WWII? (More on that next week). We need to stop wimping out, giving in while we sit by and watch our red, white and blue fade away, be taken down and tucked away along with our historical figures. Our crosses have been challenged, dismantled and removed…where is the courage that inspired those figures? As a nation, haven’t we been taught that quitters are just that…quitters? And that losers never win and winners never loose? Come on people! Let your voice be heard – write to your Senators, Congressmen and law makers, attend school, civic and community meetings and speak your mind respectfully and sensibly that we stand for America, our faith and for our service men and women.
In essence, GIG LINE is without question…a love story. It is about the importance of standing tall, upright and proud of this beautiful country that our veterans have fallen on their knees and kissed the ground when they’ve returned home…it is where our vets have prayed to find their way back to…it is a land full of men, women and children who have cried beside caskets at beloved veteran funerals.
Veterans = a blessing to us all. If you have questions or wish to offer your comments, please forward them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (252) 202-2058. Be happy for what we have, be safe wherever you go and in whatever you do and don’t only be proud…show it! God bless you and God bless America. Until next time…stay tuned.