Gig Line: Just taking it all in

Published 7:46 am Saturday, June 18, 2022

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It is now several days past June 6, a day back in 1944 when many handsome young faces were captured in timeless, sobering black and white photographs – their ghostly stares fixed upon the beaches of Normandy. When you study those remarkable pictures, you see it – you can almost feel it – their bravery saturated in images of great trepidation, fear and angst that spill out and overflow the pages. Paratroopers ascended from the sky prior to the beach landings amid darkness and harsh weather. Regardless, they were driven with purpose and they fought; they met the dread head on. Many lives stopped living during that period. D-Day is another incredible time in our extraordinary history never, ever to be forgotten.

To recap Dare Days, it was different this year not functioning on the actual streets of downtown Manteo but rather across the bridge to Ice Plant Island for the first time at Roanoke Island Festival Park. Members of the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council along with a super nice guy – a Vietnam veteran who helps the council every year in every way possible with each event was there too; his name is Tony. Rick Probst, Ellen Aidoock, Justin O’Sullivan, Barry ‘Fuzzy” Holt, Patty O’Sullivan (Dare County Veteran Service Officer) and Tony Imperiale again showed their dedication to our veteran community, setting up and manning our booth to welcome veterans, handing out valuable vet related information, offering   issuance of the free Dare County Veterans Discount Card; handing out free cloth shopping bags and a free ticket for a chance to win an American flag. Conversations were exchanged among the veterans/council members who volunteered to “booth sit” and appreciation to the attendees who stopped by was evident. Some thanked Patty for the help she had given them in filing their V.A. disability claims and for the excellent work our council does overall to show appreciation to our veterans. Thankfully, the weather was beautiful and it was an overall especially wonderful day. Thank you everybody who devoted their day for our service men and women, who stayed all day, closed shop and to you folks who stopped by to chat with your brothers and sisters! Also, to Michele Bunce and the staff of the Town of Manteo, you are all awesome!

Last week, the title of Gig Line was “An unforgettable lesson” and it was about something I learned back in 1968 that influenced my life and how I learned to stand up for myself. After a close friend read my column, she texted me that she understood doubting ourselves at times, but that she didn’t see the political reference coming. I appreciated that because this is the deal folks: all the columns I write about are based primarily on veteran-related topics, but if you think about it, the current state of affairs across our nation has a lot to do with our veterans and what they have sacrificed and died to protect.

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Our men and women signed up for military service to protect and preserve our American way of life and last night I watched Field of Dreams in which Kevin Costner’s movie wife stood up in a town meeting about defending our freedoms and that we should stand up against censorship. I wondered for a minute how many movies, songs, articles, books and stories have been written about tyranny and freedoms we used to enjoy and mistakenly took for granted every day. Hopefully, those who wish to suppress the joy of thinking for ourselves and expression thereof will not be tainted any more than it has been to date.

Regarding schools and our children’s protection: wouldn’t former military men and women who know first-hand how to handle weapons, who have been subject to intense and specialized training, who are skilled at surveillance, who have survived immense stress and danger, who have been revered for their quick thinking and creative strategies be perfect candidates to be hired to protect our children? I can’t help but wonder how many veterans and retired law enforcement would express interest in guarding our school entrances and exits if a hiring campaign began. Of course, careful scrutinizing should be as thorough as for those purchasing weapons, in my opinion.

When I see documentaries on seemingly ridiculous grants to study a shrimp on a treadmill and where other outlandish financial support has been made available, it’s not hard to wonder where we have placed our priorities, contributing to our schools, children and staff being vulnerable. What if we re-examine the expenditure of funds that seem almost absurd and of no immediate benefit and redirect those monies to where safety for our children and American citizens come first?

Almost everybody I know appreciates our natural resources, responsible and reasonable environmental protections and fair governing. What I don’t understand is how will the push for extreme “green” living help us push electric cars if our electric grid is threatened or put out of commission? Can you imagine the chaos that would ensue? And another thing,  global warming debate – even if we aren’t allowed to utilize our very available, more than adequate and more dependable, clean natural fuel oil, propane. etc., how will it help if we negotiate with other countries to buy their oil? Do their production methods not influence what goes into their air, just like ours? It’s not like they live on another planet! Are other countries that produce oil that we are having to buy instead of using our own not subject to influencing global warming? How does that make sense? This is scary, folks, and maybe I’m not thinking clearly, but air is air around the world, right?

If you are a veteran, live in Dare County and have your DD-214 that can attest to your honorable discharge or separation from military service, you are entitled to acquire a free Dare County Veterans Discount Card! Either Patty O’Sullivan or I can issue it to you to help save you money for purchases of goods and services from the extreme north to south end of the Outer Banks. Call me at 252-202-2058 or email me at or contact Patty (our official connection to the Veterans Administration), at work cell: 252-473-7749, office: 252-475-5604 or email her at

Until next time folks, be healthy, safe and happy. Love those around you, thank the good Lord for the ones who love you back and show kindness wherever you go. Even with all the challenges we face in today’s world, we have MUCH to be thankful for and to appreciate. God bless our veterans near and far, here and those active duty deployed to foreign lands. Pray for their safety and that of their families while they are away; proudly and eagerly hold our American flag high with pride. Our red, white and blue flies higher than all the rest. God be with our country and those who have served it so well. I love you veterans from the bottom of my heart! Stay tuned!