By Marsha M. Brown
“I write because I love someone very much who, like many young men, went into war…a hellish war in Vietnam, who witnessed unthinkable things only to come back home enlightened, matured and changed forever.”Marsha M. Brown
People often ask me how it came to be that I write the GIG LINE column. I appreciate the interest they have in my writings and the fact they say they look forward to reading it on a weekly basis. So, I want to emphasize why GIG LINE matters.
For those who did not see the first article in the March 15, 2012 – Coastland Times and to briefly summarize, I write because I love someone very much who, like many young men, went into war…a hellish war in Vietnam, who witnessed unthinkable things only to come back home enlightened, matured and changed forever.
Being a small town high school graduate myself having grown up in Manteo where we never used to lock our doors at night, having been protected and nurtured by loving parents and far removed from anything close to face to face combat, suffering, heartache and trauma, I came over time to appreciate what my husband’s eyes had seen.
Prior to our marriage when I was only 17, I had felt numb to the reality of war, separation from loved ones, constant discomfort, sadness, loss of best friends in front of my eyes, fear that I may never see my America again and as years passed, I wanted to pay tribute to him and so many others who hadn’t had a voice.
I wanted to stand up for him now, not after he goes to heaven (if he goes before me), while he can feel the respect and honor he and all Veterans deserve. I wanted him to know that it really did matter what he had been through, the losses he had felt and that his manly tears were not wasted.
I was compelled to say to the world that we owe our Veterans more than we can ever give them back and that no matter how graphic the movies, its director, producer, writers or special effects people are, they can’t come close to depicting what war is really like…being in the middle of it, on the front line, hearing it, smelling it and feeling it.
Occasionally when I write GIG LINE, I joke and tease and get all mushy about things, but inside, my heart is sometimes heavy because I’m thinking of the ones who never came home.
When I’ve spoken to Veterans, especially those who served in Vietnam, the pain has lessened but ever present. It will always be a part of their life, it’s just a fact, so they reach down inside and appreciate how blessed they are to have made it back and they keep going. They serve in our churches, our communities and they give from the heart. They’re used to giving, caring and putting others first more times than not because they are Veterans and survivors and that’s just what they do.
The thing that bothers me, I guess, is that there are people even today who still just don’t get it. They stick their heads in the sand and walk through life without stopping to appreciate that they can make choices because our service men and women fought so they could. They went through a lot in order to ensure that we could live, work and raise our families in a free society making choices, good bad or indifferent.
As for people who don’t think we need a strong military, or believe that world wide peace is possible…good for you and keep dreaming. We all want world peace but even in Biblical days, there were wars and rumors of wars and its just the way it is…in the mean time though get real! Thank God for our Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. And thank you National Guard and Reserves too. Thank you all for signing up willingly (or for being drafted in the past) and doing the best you could for all of us to live our life, raise our children and be happy in our America, the home of the free and of the brave.
Imagine for a second, no United States military. Would anyone want to live in the world in this day and time without the confidence of a strong military that gives pause to a competing, conflicting or challenging country that is against us?
At our grandson Jeffrey’s recent high school graduation commencement on June 15th, I was moved upon learning that four of his classmates had joined the service. I was proud that even with a recent, significant change that affected our military; those four young adults from Cape Hatteras Secondary School of Coastal Studies chose the military as their career. Was it because a Veteran family member or friend had inspired them? Was it to open the doors for a good education, benefits and potential retirement that they sought? Was it so they could see the world? Who really cares? The fact they joined the military is what matters. They are young heroes and we should all be extremely proud of any of our Dare County graduates who chose to serve. They deserve our respect and our gratitude.
So, my friends if you read GIG LINE, its goes without saying that you love or care about our Veterans too. Thank you for that. Thank you for looking for ways to celebrate them, welcome them home and give them praise. You deserve acknowledgment too! Also, rest assured that the recently established Dare County Veterans Advisory Council is diligently seeking ways to open the dialogue between Veterans and residents on the Outer Banks. To date, we’ve had three very productive meetings and the seven member Council appointed by our Dare County Board of Commissioners have visions, goals and definitive plans of action for great things to come!
At our last meeting we were told that the N.C. Drivers License Veteran insignia we expected to be optional effective July 1st is still pending due to the availability of equipment. We will keep you posted as to when a Veteran can have their driver’s license enhanced by Veteran acknowledgment.
It’s important to remember that July 27, 1953, the three year Korean War ended. According to Wikipedia, the U. S. Department of Defense reported the war claimed 33,686 battle death casualties, 2830 non battle deaths and 8176 missing in action. The battle was between the North which had established a communist government and the South a capitalist one. When people ask why there is war or why we have historically gone to other countries and fought, what don’t they understand? The preservation of capitalism is crucial. Again, in Wikipedia, the differences are explained as follows: “Capitalism is an economic system that is based on private ownership of the means of production and the creation of goods or services for profit.” whereas, “Communism is a revolutionary socialist movement to create a classless, moneyless, and stateless social order structured upon common ownership of the means of production, as well as a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of this social order.”
Not my words…just plain and simple words that are as clear as a bell and as defined by a reference a lot smarter than me. That is the very thing our Veterans have sacrificed for…a fight to keep ‘freedom’ real and an assault against societies who try to take peoples freedoms away. Need I say more?
Thank you Korean War Veterans. Thank you for all that you did to fight for the very thing Americans have cherished and that other countries have envied for so many years. You are heroes…you are remarkable and thank God for your sacrifice.
I appreciate all of you who read GIG LINE, who write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and who maintain interest in our Dare County Veterans Advisory Council. Our meetings are always open to the public and our next meeting is Thursday, July 26, 2012 at 6:00 PM, Rm. 238 (upstairs) in the Dare County Administrative Building. Until next time, be safe, be happy, be proud and stay tuned…