Gig Line: Get ready – it’s coming!

Published 8:46 am Sunday, September 24, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Well dear friends, it won’t be long! Tuesday, November 14, 2023, will be here before we know it and it will be a day, we’ll never forget … as The Wall That Heals will arrive on the Outer Banks/Nags Head.

If you haven’t signed up online through, or contacted Patty O’Sullivan (Dare County Veteran Service Officer) office: (252) 475-5604; cell: (252) 473-7749 or by email: patricia.o’ already, please consider pledging your time to help support this enormous undertaking. The county website I just mentioned is a venue where you can sign up, but Patty is more than happy to talk with you and help register you, so please contact her.

This is a B-I-G deal folks! Our beautiful stretch of Dare County communities will have the opportunity to witness the most elite traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial established in Washington, D.C. that was completed in 1982. If you have visited the breathtaking Memorial in D.C., you may not feel a need to visit the traveling replica here, but trust me when I say that by coming to join the rest of us who have loved and lost spouses, parents, siblings, children and best friends in the Vietnam War (and after they came home), your presence will be a blessing.

Get the latest headlines sent to you

Standing with, beside or just near others on the grounds who have and to this day grieve the loss of a loved one would show respect and considering what our surviving veterans who did come home and went through would touch everyone there.

The impact the Vietnam War had on so many American lives across our nation should never be taken lightly or forgotten. Our local and visiting Vietnam veterans need to see (in my opinion) that we still care about them; for what they endured while they were there and especially after the horrible way they were treated when they thankfully stood once again in American many of them kissing the ground beneath them. By our taking the time to come and stand with and for the surviving Vietnam veterans and their family members will make a lasting impression and your presence will be deeply appreciated.

The Dare County Veterans Advisory Council initiated this event to honor our fallen whose 58,000+ names engraved on the black panels encompass the 375’ traveling Wall. Also, by attending you can etch their names as a personal keepsake and honor. So many men and women who had dreams of rejoining their precious loved ones back here at home suffered and died far, far away. We need to get close to their memory and be present at this event if possible.

Financially, every dime donated to support this endeavor has originated from very kind, caring hearts and the council cannot thank you enough because without your help this very memorable occasion would not be taking place.

There have been so many people and business entities in conjunction with the Veterans Advisory Council and The Wall That Heals Committee that have made this undertaking possible. Without the donations and financial contributions this event would still only be a dream and I cannot begin to tell you how much it means to everyone I have talked to who served in Vietnam and who are involved in this.

The Wall That Heals will no doubt make me cry … and probably a lot. But my tears, much like yours, will come from mixed emotions – sadness that we lost more than 58,000 of our servicemembers from all ages and all military branches … perhaps alone with no one to comfort them, hold their hand or pray with them … for all who cried out to their mama or their wife, husband or girl/boyfriend in their last breath … for so many who were so young in their late teens and twenties. I will be sad too for the aggravated assault on our men and women who came home to rejection and shame cast on them by those who simply wanted to hurt them further … shame, shame on them.

At the same time, I will feel happiness for us having the chance to honor them and stand before that huge tombstone (basically) and pay tribute to their service and sacrifice. And as I stand in its reflection, I will consider how happy my Billy would be that we finally got this beautiful memorial here on our homeland, the Outer Banks. I hope as a Vietnam veteran, he and all his brothers and sisters in Heaven can see through the clouds that we remember, miss and love them with all our hearts.

There will no doubt be thousands who attend … and for all the people engaged in the operation of The Wall That Heals who travel with it from destination to destination, I hope that we Outer Bankers show them the love our Dare County families have for the brave men and women we’ll honor.

And to be clear, when I tell you all we still need volunteers, we do. Currently we probably have about 200 who have already signed up but there is so much to do including setting up the Wall, basically guarding it around the clock because once erected, it will be lighted and open to the public 24 hours a day until its dismantling on Sunday, November 19th at 2 p.m.

What do we still need volunteers to sign up for now? Primarily to stay at the site for four-hour shifts from midnight to 4 a.m. and from 4 a.m. until 8 a.m. also, there will be NO food or drinks for sale to the public whatsoever, nor souvenirs but with all the volunteers donating their time to honor the magnificent event overall, we would greatly appreciate individually wrapped (either store bought or homemade) snacks, treats, cookies, and things like that to help nourish the volunteers who will assist with helping visitors find their loved ones name on the Wall; with the Education Center that will provide incredible information, pictures, artifacts from the Vietnam War, and a host of other tasks and assignments.

The only food/beverage items allowed on the premises will be strictly for the volunteers to refresh themselves as many will likely volunteer longer hours beyond than scheduled for (four-hour shifts). Please understand this event will be very sacred and respectful – it will be an opportunity to see, learn, mourn and offer support and comfort to those who lost a loved one during the Vietnam War and since then.

One of our very dear Vietnam veterans (former council member and current Wall Committee member) will not only speak on the morning of November 16th at the Opening Ceremony, but he has sought and acquired snack contributions from his church family as well as some bottled water. If you or your church, civic group, business, etc. would like to help with this need we will have, please contact me (Marsha) on my cell: (252) 202-2058. If you don’t mind considering asking others who wish to help also to be sure the food items are individually wrapped as we will not have a way to cut/serve or plate anything for our volunteers. In advance, we thank you!

Remember too: the Opening Ceremony will be on the morning of Thursday, Nov 16th, and that the In Memory Candlelight Ceremony the evening of Friday, Nov. 17th to honor Vietnam Veterans who have died since returning home whether due to Agent Orange exposure or not. If you would like for your loved one to be acknowledged in the In Memory Ceremony, please look at the website, once there  tap on Honor A Veteran and scroll down to see In Memory Honor Roll. Then, either submit their information and required docs or contact Patty at the numbers above and she will help you … the deadline to submit your veteran’s info is drawing nigh, so please investigate it ASAP. Patty is happy to help you submit what it needed, so please utilize her help to do this rather than miss the opportunity.

More veteran news and updates in the coming weeks, so hang in here with me folks! If you have a question or wish to talk with me, I’d like to hear from you. Please contact my cell: (252) 202-2058, or email: and for previous stories and columns search:

Stay tuned, take care, be healthy, safe, and happy! Love yourself, your family, friends and our outstanding veterans. No matter how, what era, you or they served, Veterans are our backbone, our fortress, our heroes – love them and please come to The Wall That Heals to show your respect for all our Armed Forces. God bless you and remember how much He loves you and hears your prayers! And I love you too, friends. Stay tuned!