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Gig Line: Backward and forward

This is a good time to thank all our veterans in a special way because within the past two weeks, two veterans, their wives and children were friends of ours – a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and a U. S. Army veteran – deployed to Heaven. They were good, salt of the earth people; wonderful husbands, fathers, grandfathers and friends to all who knew them. They served this great nation with pride and they have each left their mark on the world in which we live.

My Billy (Sweetie Pie) used to always say how effective our Armed Forces were at teaching young people discipline, shared responsibility and courage. Basic training and beyond he felt taught fortitude, determination, the ability to take constructive criticism, to hand it out in a leadership position; accordingly, to accept sacrifice; to witness heartache and hardship and grow from it and to cultivate a protective nature for the oppressed, downtrodden and those suffering.

Obviously, they have teased each other over which branch they felt excelled above the others; yet they openly acknowledged the unique bond of brotherhood that made them more brothers than friends. He noted that before, during and after Vietnam his comrade’s heartache, fears, homesickness for America, family and friends was often times unspoken yet loud and clear.

The look in his eye when he and another vet approached each other told a story . . . an unspoken story that while inaudible, spoke volumes in a language foreign to me, yet clearly understood between the brothers. It was magical almost and my eyes welt up when I would see it. He loved his brothers – he found joy in spending time with them in his last few years – and I’m thankful for what they meant to him.

I once said to a veteran after Billy passed that I wished I knew everything he had gone through and all the places he was stationed, etc. I had requested his records from the V.A. archives, but the info was sketchy at best. In fact, I knew little more after I received the V.A.’s response than when I first inquired. Our veteran friend said it was better that I didn’t and that not everything during service years is accessible even to a spouse. When I inquired about Daddy’s records (U.S. Coast Guard retiree), it was disappointing to receive so few document copies about him, too, even after I had explained that I was in the process of writing my book and I wanted to be accurate in describing when, where and what regarding Daddy’s service since I was only eight when he retired. Other than the typical archives request, if any of you reading this has any other suggestion, please advise. My cell number is 252-202-2058 or email me at giglineheroes@aol.com.

All our (you) veterans deserve praise, whether full-service time was spent in the U. S., on friendly soil overseas or in war or conflict. Every man and woman had a job to do and what they have done here not only protected us at home in America but affected the success of our troops overseas. I say that because I have heard apologies (though completely unnecessary) from veterans I’ve come to know over the last eight years who seem to feel guilty they had not physically served boots on ground in Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Afghanistan or Iraq. Without exception, we who absolutely love America – love our vets!

At this writing, the greatness of our National Guard is ever so present in Washington, D.C. doing their job guarding, protecting, offering assistance and support and I am thankful for each of them. They are great contributors to our nation’s recovery especially during hard, difficult or tragic times. Regardless of the situation, weather emergency, etc., they are there for all of us. Thank you to everyone who has or is currently serving in that incredibly special service branch, the National Guard.

Speaking of D.C., President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are now at the helm and it’s time to accept the change of leadership; not to scour the change but to appreciate the accomplishments President Trump has made over the last four years; also, to pray for the new administration and for the decisions they will make on behalf of all Americans; for their cabinet members, law makers and influencers and for the safety and well-being of each of them and their families. And let us all continue to pray, too, for an end to this horrible pandemic that has taken so many innocent lives from city to city, state to state and the world overall.

We have been through a lot, all of us, with shutdowns, shut-ins, face coverings, separations and tears. We have witnessed hardship, struggle, conflict and strife that has been almost too much to bear day after day, week after week and month after month. COVID-19, political riots and unruly protests have hurt too many and it’s time to stop! They are not the same as standing peacefully for our military, our law enforcement and our faith.

When as a baby boomer growing up, somebody called another person a name of any kind, we’d usually chalk it up to their poor upbringing, their rude attitude in general and we’d think to ourselves, “Lord please help that miserable soul!” I so wish we still held to that principle and looked for the good in others instead of things we don’t like or disagree with. Ahhhh, the good ol’ days . . . I miss them.

Last week I received a handwritten snail mail letter from a sweet couple who are faithful readers of Gig Line. Without getting too descriptive, I’d like to ask everyone to lift “C and S” in prayer for a medical concern they shared. “C” is a Vietnam veteran and they’re both precious to me. Since I know from personal experience the Lord hears our prayers, I’d like to ask anyone who is willing to pray for them, for the best care, medicine and treatment possible and healing hands from those caring for him and strength for his side-by-side soul mate so they can hopefully spend many, more years blessing all of us. They are my friends and precious in every way.

Call or write to me at my cell number and email address that I noted above and if you would like to talk to Patty O’Sullivan, Dare County Veteran Service officer, about a replacement DD-214 or concerning a potential V.A. medical claim, please don’t hesitate. Her phone number is 252-475-5604 and her email is dcvac@darenc.com. With limited office hours due to COVID, please call and leave her a voice mail and she will call you back! She’s awesome but you will find that out for yourself as soon as you talk to her!

Until next time, be happy, be healthy, be safe and be proud! I love you all and I genuinely care what you’re going through in your lives too! God bless you and your family! Pray for our troops each and every day. Stay tuned!

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

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