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Gig Line: If you truly believe it, then say it

Typically, when most of us wake up in the morning, we get our first cup of coffee, sit down and reach for our cell phone to see what text or emails we missed overnight; check our weather forecast for the day, then turn the TV on and watch our favorite news channel hoping to hear something good just for a change. Maybe then we realize we should stop what we’re doing and take the time to thank the good Lord for another day; pray for our loved ones and those who are sick and ask God to use us for good in this world.

After praying for others and thanking Him for our blessings, we unmute the TV and hear just that: a rescue occurred overnight in a flooded town, someone was found alive who had been missing on a hike, someone won the lottery. Those news bits are music to our ears and good for the soul and one can’t help but rewind and consider that news about happiness, success, achievements and healings are unfortunately overshadowed by the negative. In fact, most of us do care and help each other whenever we can, we do love our neighbor regardless of political differences, skin color, financial status and we can decide what we want to concentrate on and perpetuate in our lives.

In the midst of all the chaos, people bashing, mayhem and violence so frequently   reported anymore, you realize that when you peel back the outer layers and get to the heart of the matter, we are created with incredibly awesome minds that can think for ourselves and learn and grow exponentially; that we can choose to appreciate the good in life and want to do better and be better ourselves or not. Outside influences can help us or hurt us, but what we do with those influences is the difference. Blessings that make you feel love and give love to others; recollections of the innocence of a newborn baby and the sweet gentle spirit of an elderly, frail great grandparent who will “cross the bar” sooner than later sort of sums life up, however it’s what you do with the span of time in between that really matters.

If you lay on a grassy knoll or on a sandy beach and look up at the sky, you study the shape of the clouds and what you see in them; you feel the breeze and warm sun on your face and suddenly a bumble bee brings you back to reality buzzing close to your ear, you contemplate life and what it has dealt you. The happy times, the sad times, the funny times and just how quickly it has flown by. Life is precious, a true blessing and one we unintentionally but too often take for granted.

I was driving through Manteo yesterday and though it was hot, I put my hair up, had the windows down and just took it all in. Folks were moving about and both old and young couples were holding hands. Life seemed good for them. They appeared to possibly be vacationers, but happy and in love. It was nice. Driving toward home, I took a little detour and parked Billy’s beloved Toyota at the Old Swimming Hole by the N.C. Aquarium off the Airport Road where I sometimes go to eat lunch or to talk to the Lord and reminisce. Back in the day, as teenagers we used to go there to park, smooch and cuddle. Before our first driver’s license road test with Mr. Snead (our infamous, feared but so loved N.C. driver’s license examiner), we would drive around the (back then) relatively quiet airport getting practice for three point turns and the like. It’s a very special place.

Sometimes, there, I think about Gig Line and the broad list of topics I want to write about and the countless veterans I want to reach out to – to thank and to offer praise to for their (your) service and sacrifice. I am so blessed. Yes, I have suffered heartache. I miss my Vietnam veteran husband every single day, but at the same time I’m grateful for the beautiful years together when we went on vacation and walked holding hands just like the folks I saw yesterday. But when Billy went to Heaven, I knew he would want me to continue Gig Line, to encourage veterans to seek the help they so deserve, to “keep on keepin’ on” so that’s what I do.

Billy inspired me to embrace his love for his brothers and sisters and being a veteran advocate for the last 10 years has touched my heart and soul beyond measure, so much so that a friend of mine has just helped me launch a new website: giglineheroes.com. Please check it out. It’s brand new and we will be adding and expanding with pictures and references as time goes on. At this point, I believe there are currently more than 200 stories and remembrances of my life with the most outstanding man and veteran I’ve ever known – my husband Billy. I will utilize this new venture to continue to reach out to, hopefully encourage and to show my gratitude for the men and women who have protected us for centuries.

I will always love our U.S. flag. I will always be proud to sing the songs that have united us and I will pray that God helps me forgive those who perpetuate ill will toward others. I’m happy that I know and love the Lord God with all my heart and that He requires me to forgive those who think He’s a fairy tale or figment of imagination. I know better. I’ve personally seen, felt and heard the grace of Almighty God. I’ve prayed for help at times. I’ve prayed for healing for those I love and complete strangers, too. Sometimes I’ve witnessed compassion, angelic comfort and acceptance of not seeing the changes in some situations that I hoped for.

My big strong hero veteran initially inspired me back in the day and then God took it and embellished it within me to do good, or at least to try. I hope that you, too, find your calling, your purpose in life, and that you seize the opportunities you are given to follow through, give it your best and help create love, peace and harmony.

There will be a lot of stories to come through this weekly column in The Coastland Times and through my website, too. Testimonies of WWII, Korean, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Afghanistan war veterans, their experiences, shared memories of their loved ones and the hope of our veterans for our country’s future.

Again, thank you for being a faithful reader of Gig Line. Thank you for standing proud of this incredible nation and for all the good she has done for the world. Stick by your principles, honor our flag always and love the men and women of our Armed Forces – they deserve it.

Until next time, be healthy, safe and proud. Love one another and consider what you want your legacy to be. If you know a vet who could use some help, please don’t hesitate to call my cell at 252-202-2058 or email me at giglineheroes@aol.com.

If you or a veteran you know needs help acquiring a duplicate DD-214 or filing a claim for compensation that they may be eligible for, please contact Dare County Veteran Service Officer Patty O’Sullivan at 252-475-5604 or email her at dcvac@darenc.com and check out www.darenc.com for veteran information regarding the free Dare County Veteran Discount Card, veteran calendar of events and more.

The monthly meeting date/time for the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council has changed from the fourth Thursday at 3 p.m. to the newly scheduled fourth Tuesday at 6 p.m. with the hope that more working veterans and their family members can participate. God bless you all. I love you and stay tuned!

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

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