Gig Line: A veteran’s Christmas

Published 9:01 pm Thursday, December 16, 2021

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Before I write another word, I want to thank all our active-duty service members, our troops (wherever they may be) and all the men and women stateside who serve our nation every single day. Thank you for your willingness to serve our great, great United States of America and for standing ready to defend the liberties and freedoms we have known as Americans. God bless you in your health, your safety and your happiness.

Thank you for your discipline, courage, skills and dedication to the task of keeping our citizens safe; for your willingness to forfeit spending guaranteed time at home with your spouse and children, parents, grands, family and friends as a member of our United States military.

We thank you for the days and nights you’ve been stationed somewhere away from home separated from witnessing your baby’s first steps, your little girl’s first ballet or your son’s first basketball game or hometown touchdown. It has all been such a sacrifice that you may not always feel is appreciated, but trust me – it is!

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To all the souls who have served through enlistment or draft, who have retired or serve as Reserves and donned the uniform of our U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and who now serve in our new Space Force – THANK YOU! And to add to that, let’s not forget our National Guard and all they do for our nation, especially in crisis.

Christmas time is just around the corner and depending on where you are (or will be), you may not be able to enjoy your family gatherings, big Christmas dinner and special church services that celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ; however please know this – your sacrifice is broad and wide, you are the gate keepers – you are another gift that God gave us all and we are grateful not only to you but to your family members who, like you, sacrifice so much.

Recently I contacted one of the U.S. Army Recruiting Offices that Billy and I had worked with over several years. Their staff had assisted us with the Veteran’s Day programs at our church in Manteo for four years having given speeches; having presented the Thirteen Folds of the Flag and Posting the Colors and I found the gentleman I spoke to just as interested and eager to help as the first contact we had made with his office back in 2011. What a blessing to speak to someone who loves what he does – serving our country – and a gentleman who clearly appreciates those who appreciate them, our service members.

Though the original contacts we had made there several years ago and established a friendship with originally had since transferred elsewhere, I’ve never forgotten their kindness, interest in helping us honor their fellow brothers/sisters and generously providing small American flags, token military pins, etc. as audience handouts. This new and very dedicated service member I’ve had several conversations with now is on “stand-by” for a request for help.

I’m not sure what need we will have in the future, but I hope we can involve his office and other military branches for demonstrations, a display of tactical equipment, etc. and I look forward to working with him in the future.

This Christmas, like the last five, my hero husband will not be here – he is in Heaven, but our home is a constant reminder of his memory and the joy he brought to it and to all our lives.

I thank God every day for the blessing of our happy marriage, for the Christian, devoted patriot, father, grandfather and best friend I was privileged to share my life with for close to 50 years. This Christmas I will miss him still; miss his incredibly dry sense of humor, his strong shoulders to cry on, his tender touch, his beautiful singing voice and his sincere meaningful prayers. He touched my life to the core in so many ways; he influenced our children and grandchildren for good and he was proud to have served our country in an extremely hard, dreadful place – Vietnam.

December 25th I will thank Almighty God for His blessings, for His listening to my prayers and for answering them according to His will. I will thank Him, too, for loving my husband and taking him home when he was so sick with the hope and expectation I will one day see my Billy again.

Thank you for reading Gig Line. I truly love you all so very much and wish beautiful blessings on you and your family’s lives this Christmas and beyond. If you know a vet who could use some help, please call me at 252-202-2058 or Patty O’Sullivan, Dare County Veteran Service Officer, at 252-475-5604. You can also email me at or visit my website,

In the meantime, be healthy, safe and happy. Stay tuned!