Gig Line: The Magnificent Thirteen

Published 3:47 pm Thursday, September 9, 2021

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Perhaps some of you watched the dignified transfer of the remains of our heroes who were killed August 29, 2021, in Kabul, Afghanistan. The setting was at the Dover Air Force Base (Delaware) and, out of respect, I dropped what I was doing to sit down and observe the respect shown to them, I considered the magnitude of our nation’s loss and the pain and suffering of their Gold Star family members, friends and fellow service comrades.

It was a solemn removal from the aircraft that brought them home to America, the country they sacrificed their lives for after having served with great honor. These incredible servicemen and women were killed helping those dependent on their presence for protection from their enemy in Afghanistan.

Watching it, I witnessed the greatness of our nation, the love and respect shown to our fallen and the emergence one by one of the individual transfer cases carried by a team of seven to carefully place them in the waiting transport vehicles. I was struck by the precision, the step-by-step delivery wondering what thoughts were going through their minds at the time as well as the meticulousness reverence they carried out to completion.

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The pride within me for all United States military veterans was almost overwhelming accompanied by the tremendous respect for our country even with its fallacies. To be honest with you, emotions of all kinds surfaced once it was appropriate to hear the names and age of each hero following the completion of the dignified transfer. Their beautiful young faces, the empty arms of their husbands, wives, children, parents and siblings represented a stark contrast to the faces we see on the news depicting sports figures, entertainers and public figures who kneel, turn their back on our flag and seize every opportunity to make a name for themselves as a protestor and against what most of us deem as precious.

I couldn’t help but think about how different those courageous men and women were to do what they did until their last breath, and it sickened me to consider the excuses offered by those who seem proud to reject patriotism. Obviously, many who seem to detest America have been supported, financed, lifted to a higher financial plain by the Americans who sought to promote them, buy their goods and celebrate them throughout their career. I contemplated how we have fallen from grace allowing the public disrespect of our flag, our display of patriotism. How? Why? Whatever made us wimp out when it came to standing up for the pride we always had in our red, white and blue? What turned so many of us into apologists concerned about who we “offended” if we showed our American pride?

It’s impossible to imagine the depth of grief of our fallen family members, nor the overwhelming distain they must feel for the lack of respect on display too often by some who somehow forget they live in a country that is free. Free because of these unforgettable 13 U. S. troops and so many before them who have lost their lives and limbs defending freedom and independence.

As for me, I stand proud of our United States flag, of our military branches, of our country. We are not, nor will we ever be, a perfect nation. We will never agree on everything. We will see things in different ways, for different reasons, but the attributes, the solid love for one another and for goodness and mercy, pride, conscience and faith far outweighs the negative naysayers who find fault, pick everything and everybody apart, who view our nation as below or less than the best. Well, I will pray they find peace, security, gratefulness and a determination not to let anti-American rhetoric sway their patriotism from this point forward.

The outstanding service members we have heard so much about recently should make us even more proud, more supportive, more faithful to this nation and to each other and to stand strong and side-by-side as Americans.

In my daily prayers, I thank the good Lord for our veterans, for our active duty and for our nation. Proud to be an American. How about you?

Watching the dignified transfer of precious loved ones – America’s treasures – broke my heart, but it made me even more energized to stand up for what they stood for. In their honor, we have an opportunity moving forward (if we haven’t been already) to stand tall, gratified and patriotic. To buy and fly our American flags, to attend patriotic events, to support like-minded candidates, to teach our children and grandchildren what America’s superiority means and how to demonstrate it throughout their lives.

Pray for the families of our fallen, pray for our country, pray for a positive change in the hearts of the hardened and those who have lost a treasure that is so priceless – a genuine love of our homeland. Acknowledge a veteran whenever you can; be glad you live here in the “land of the free and the home of the brave” and consider turning a deaf ear to those who aren’t. If you’re a vet who could use some help or you know of one, please call me at 252-202-2058 or email Also, visit my new website (for lots of stories) at and for a specific V.A. question, claim, etc., contact our official Dare County Veteran Service Officer, Patty O’Sullivan at 252-475-5604 or email her at

Until next time, be healthy, safe and proud. I love you all and appreciate the time you have taken to read Gig Line. God bless you and your family. Stay tuned.