Gig Line: Just to be clear
Published 9:54 am Monday, April 3, 2023
First things first: I realize that many of you who read my column every week must wonder if I ever consider the sacrifices of all the other wartime veterans of these United States. So, I’m here to tell you – of course I do! I love every single veteran who has served our nation no matter when, where, what branch of service, what conflict or war he or she has served in. And for that matter, I think of all the war era veterans who stood in limbo wondering if they would be deployed to a foreign land to fight for freedom, no matter which time in our history. I never forget any of you because you all matter so much to our country and to our world. Your families too … I think about those who have waited to get a letter from you or a phone call or an email just touching base to let you know they were alright. You are in my thoughts and most definitely in my prayers every day.
Parents whose spouses have deployed and who have to keep reassuring their children that Daddy or Mama will come home while inside you hope and pray they will are soldiers in your own right – and heroes, too. No, I don’t forget any of you, or your importance or your struggles holding your chin up, dreading daily news coverage from where you loved one might be stationed not to mention the fear that you could get a knock at your door with uniformed service personnel on the other side. As a nation, we love our veterans and we hold you up in prayer that you will come home soon to so many loving arms.
The reason I mention this is not in defense of anything. No negative comments have come to me toward, my writing or even about my repetitious writings about Vietnam veterans. I write a lot about our Vietnam veterans because of the inspiration of my husband who validated patriotism, love of country and the overdue respect to our servicemembers, especially those who served in southeast Asia.
Did you know that much has changed over these years since the war ended there? Do you realize the true respect that civilian and veteran brothers and sisters have for Vietnam veterans? I can tell you first-hand that on numerous occasions, I have heard veterans tell me face to face how bad they felt because they didn’t serve in Vietnam, too many to count. They were willing, they cared about their brothers/sisters in harms way over there and I have witnessed their remorse not having served “boots on ground” beside them.
Just in the last two weeks I have had somewhat lengthy conversations with two Vietnam veterans, one who owns a home in Nags Head and another in our neighboring Columbia. Both of these two gentlemen touched my heart, just as all the veterans I talk to do. Their side of the discussions always interest me. Some of what they share is similar if not identical to some of the talks my husband and I had and I cherish what each of them had to say. By the time we each hung up their ears were probably steaming because I so love to talk with them – in fact I could sit with them all day and just absorb their thoughts. They are important – every single word out of their mouths is like a jewel to me. These men and the few female Vietnam veterans I have met or known personally are visions of strength and courage and sacrifice on so many levels.
Thank our Lord they didn’t pay the ultimate sacrifice of losing their lives and eventually came home, but still with everything intact, they paid a huge, huge price and I thank them all from the bottom of my heart. The effects of exposure to Agent Orange are undeniable and injuries and service-connected issues are broad and way too numerous. They run the gambit but nearly all suffer wounds we can’t see at first – until tears stream at hearing “TAPS” or during testimonies of their brothers and sisters at church or a veteran-related event.
It seems we all get more emotional as we get older, I can attest to that myself. But as our hair turns gray or snow white and the sun starts to set, we can’t help but rekindle memories that have made everlasting impressions on us; many of those we grasp tightly and never want to forget while others we wish we could erase altogether.
As the time draws nigh for The Wall That Heals to make its way toward the Outer Banks, I will write more and more about the observations I witness and the effect it will have on those around me. In fact, I’m in the process of writing my book which I hope to have published by the time the beautiful salute to our fallen, The Wall That Heals, is experienced and embraced by all our locals and visitors alike.
What will it be about? Marrying our local pastor’s son four months from his coming home as an honorably discharged U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam War when I was 17 years old. I will share things I’ve never written about in Gig Line, including funny, sad and downright heartbreaking stories. Some of the chapters will hopefully make you laugh, while others might make you blush and the rest will hopefully inspire you to feel patriotism on a deeper level than ever before.
If at any time you would like to call my cell (252-202-2058) and chat about your military service or your love of this magnificent country, I’m seriously all ears! It would be my pleasure and a blessing to hear from you. If you’d like for me to share your story in Gig Line or share your story without identifying who you are, that’s okay too! Gig Line is about all veterans and the people who admire you, respect you and love you.
Much – so much – more to come but in the meantime, please look online at the new Dare County website so you can read all about The Wall That Heals – check it out at www.darenc.gov/Wall where you will see the categories for event schedule, donate, volunteer, honor a veteran, frequently asked questions and veterans services. Then scroll down and be sure to click to watch a video overview.
God bless you wonderful people! I love you all so much and can’t wait to see you out and about and give you a big hug. Email me at email@example.com and for a ton of previous columns, see www.giglineheroes.com. Be healthy, safe and happy, folks. Despite the overload of bad or disturbing news these days, we have something very wonderful coming our way this November 2023. The Lord is good, He loves us more than any of us can comprehend and we have so much to be thankful for every day. Think positive and keep looking up. Stay tuned!