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Gig Line: Words matter

In this day and time especially, the words we speak matter . . .  a lot. If they aren’t critical, redundant and almost laughable, they’re listened to for substance, reliable content and they’re based on real “meat and potatoes” – so to speak. Collectively, words can lift a person up, give them hope, encourage one to believe in themselves and to “reach for the stars” and others, depending on the intent of the communicator, can tear a person down to a level lower than a snake’s belly. Thankfully I’ve been blessed with kind, supportive words regarding Gig Line and I’m thankful to those who have expressed them.

Just last week I received a “snail mail” hand written letter from a gentleman who lives in Virginia. It was obvious to me just from his envelope that he was very likely a veteran and that he had American pride before I even opened his correspondence.

On the back of the envelope there was a sticker that read “Support Our Troops – Remember Our Veterans” and the picture above the wording appeared to be the statue of “The Three Soldiers” also known as “The Three Servicemen.” That very special statue reminds us of the men who sacrificed so much in Vietnam – who fought for the oppressed and who fought just to survive and get back home. If you’ve never seen it, please make the time . . . it’s a beautiful piece of art.

As I looked at the sticker, I remembered the night my Billy, a Vietnam veteran, and I visited our good friends in northern Virginia for the weekend in 2004. They knew Billy’s love of country and they wanted us to see the historical Washington, D.C. earmarks that belong to all of us.  Seeing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial first-hand and witnessing Billy’s reaction standing there, staring at it is engrained in me forever.

It was a misty chilly night and while folks meandered all around us, the look on my husband’s face told me he was the only one there. Perhaps lost in time, or in heartache for a little while, it was as if a still silence had fallen over the entire Vietnam Veterans Memorial. As Billy’s eyes fixed upon the bronze image of his “brothers,” he was motionless – and as his eyes remained on the image, it was clear . . . he was back there, both in his mind and in his heart.

The Wall located not far from the statue was enormous, overpowering and black but the precious names inscribed on the granite stood out. As family members of all ages walked alongside its long, tall remembrance of the brave, men and women never to come home . . .58,000+. Billy was on a mission to find the names of those he was the closest to and had lost. He stood close enough to reach up and graze their names with his fingertips as if to soak in their memory. It was a silent expression of “Hey buddy, love you.” I waited to the side and didn’t say a word, then we walked some more, and then, he’d get up close again to find more names.

That letter from “C. R.” was precious; his words were sincere and touched my heart. I read through his letter several times – each time feeling thankful. He told me he was an Army veteran and that he served Active duty from 1966 -1969 and Reserves after that. He told me about the love of his life, his wife for 55 years. The tears filled my eyes as I thought of their devotion to each other and how I miss my Billy and I considered the essence of real, t-r-u-e love. I hoped in that few minutes that every human being on earth experience what my new friend and his wife and my sweet Billy and I had known – a love that lasts forever.

As a veteran, C.R. seemed proud, honorable and the kind of man we look up to and cherish. I’m proud that he served our great country and maybe, just maybe at some point within he and Billy’s military service, they crossed paths somewhere along the way. Maybe . . . but only God knows for sure.

Words DO matter and his letter mattered to me. I’ll cherish his collection of thoughts and I’ll save it in a special place with other memorable keepsakes I’ve been blessed to receive as a result of Gig Line.

Thank you C. R. – thank you for taking the time to praise Gig Line, for sharing with me the obvious love you have for your wife; thank you for reaching out to your son to ask him to get my address in the first place so you could mail your “ole fashion” letter to me. And by the way, I love anything old – old is when together we stood for our flag and our National Anthem, for our military and for our Constitution as it was written. Sadly, many “old timey ways” have faded, are laughed at or scorned today much to our detriment and to those who don’t value the traditions we hold dear, I seriously feel sorry for them . . . it’s sad.

As for me? I’ll continue to embrace old timey and old-fashioned ways any day. I’ll appreciate each of our historical testaments. They were established to remind us of the past, so that we never forget the things we did right and the things we could have done better or things never to do again. Destroying our statues and crosses doesn’t change the past . . . not one bit. They remind us of it and dismantling, desecrating and destroying images of history is, in my opinion, a big, fat blunder.

Just as I thank our very dear friends, Luke and Beth, who invited us to their home and who took their time to show us The Wall and other unforgettable historical tributes, I thank you too C. R. so very much. Thank you for your service – you, kind sir and my Billy are perfect representations of “pride in America,” “love of country” and the outstanding, red blooded American spirit. God bless all our men and women who went as asked by our country; God bless those who didn’t come back and to the family members who have grieved ever since . . . you’re not forgotten either. I am proud to write Gig Line on behalf of our veterans and their loved ones. Thank you for reading my column and for hearing me brag about the one true love in my life, my Billy.

To every veteran from WWII to date – I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Until next time, be happy, be safe and be proud of yourselves and all who have served . . . you are incredible and we salute you! If you wish to write to me, my email address is giglineheroes@aol.com. In the meantime, I’ll be thinking of you as always. God bless you, please pray for our troops and stay tuned . . .

FOR MORE COLUMNS AND LETTERS TO THE EDITOR, CHECK OUT OUR OPINION PAGE.

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