Gig Line: Movies, memories and puppies

Published 12:05 pm Monday, April 29, 2024

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At home the other night while watching one of my favorite house make over shows, a commercial came on, so I started channel surfing and came across the very beginning of the 1982 movie “First Blood.” It was the first of the Rambo movies and forgetting about the show I had just abandoned, I settled in to watch it … again. Like so many, I had seen it before years ago with my sweet husband Billy, a veteran of the U.S. Army and a Vietnam veteran. The memories of how he reacted to some of the verbal script took me back … it had been a long time ago, but I remembered it clearly.

Because Billy rarely talked about the Vietnam War, I was sensitive to how the movie might make him feel, the impressions it might make on him, so I asked him if he was okay to watch it; his answer was, “sure.” So, I cuddled up beside him on the couch and I kept quiet. I did not want to bug him or ask a bunch of unnecessary questions, but with little conversation between us, I felt his emotions.

Billy got into the drama, especially when Sylvester Stallone, who played the part of Rambo, had returned home to the states and set out to see an old friend and “brother” only to find out he had passed away due to his exposure to Agent Orange. If you have seen the movie and remember, he left his friend’s widow and began a trek on foot to find himself again.

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As the movie continued, he was sighted by the local sheriff who viewed him as a vagrant, a no-account drifter and the attitude against Rambo began to unfold. Initially, the sheriff had appeared to be a friendly sort of guy, acknowledging the townspeople and asking how they were, but as the minutes passed, he showed his character as belligerent and judgmental toward Rambo. The sheriff offered him a ride outside of town and expressed his disdain for him, knowing nothing about him at all. He was cocky and arrogant, and it quickly progressed to him arresting Rambo and taking him to jail. Given, the sheriff did not know what his new encounter had been through or why he just wanted to be left alone, but he never tried to understand either.

From there, the reaction between the two spiraled out of control and when other deputies influenced by the sheriff’s demeanor went too far, all heck broke loose and Rambo escaped from the jail and until the end of the movie, he was heavily sought after much to the detriment of the town due in part to the survivor skills Rambo had learned while serving in Southeast Asia. Until the end of the movie significant destruction and injury occurred – sadly much, if not all – that could have been avoided if Rambo had been treated with the respect he deserved rather than belligerence.

Yes, it was a movie, not a newsreel nor an account of an onsite journalist with first-hand observations, but it was also a lesson. Some people seemed to be asleep in class even after that and ignorance took a front seat vs. mature understanding of what war – combat in a real war – might have been like. Shame on anyone who mistreated our Vietnam veterans or any veterans who fought for survival of themselves or those they were there to defend, no matter what country they were deployed to.

I think some folks have regretted how they treated our servicemembers – in fact I know it for sure because I was approached at a speaking engagement I attended when a gentleman came up and thanked me for my presentation and to tell me he had a family member who was very sorry for their reaction toward Vietnam veterans back in the day. He was nice and apologetic on their behalf, which meant a lot to me … for Billy. At that point, I was anxious to get home to tell Billy that somebody was not only sorry but ashamed of their actions back in the 1960s. Overdue? Yep, it sure was, but important nonetheless. None of us are perfect, not even one of us; we make mistakes, sometimes we do not stop and think of how our actions can influence other’s reactions.

I mentioned at least once before that Patty O’Sullivan, Dare County veteran service officer (office: 252-475-5604; cell: 252-473-7749 and email: patricia.o’, had been approached from representatives of the Vet Center in Greenville about the possibility of them offering mental health counseling here for veterans in Dare County at no charge potentially in an individual or group setting depending on the interest and eligibility.

UPDATE: Below are quotes derived from correspondence Patty received to help familiarize our Veterans and their families as follows:

“Vet Centers are staffed by highly-trained counselors and team members dedicated to seeing individuals through the challenges that come with managing life during and after the military. Vet Centers are committed to providing confidential help for Veterans, service members and their families at no cost.” The statement goes on to ask veterans who might need counseling to consider contacting Patty at the numbers I provided above. Further, it explains individual, family and group counseling and that “Veterans may be eligible for services regardless of their discharge status or eligibility for VA health care.” As I have referenced before, the counseling would be for depression, grief, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and the psychological effects of military sexual trauma (MST).

In addition, if you or you know of a “brother” or “sister” who might wish to investigate the offering, there are contact numbers available to reach out to in Greenville, however, since Patty is who they are correspond with about the potential classes here, she is the best point of contact at this time. Also, Patty said there will be a VA Town Hall with the Veterans Benefits Administration on Monday, May 20, 2024 from 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Thomas A. Baum Senior Center in Kill Devil Hills. NOTE: I will announce that event several times again between now and then to remind everyone who might be interested.

Now folks, since I received numerous texts, emails and even snail mail offering your condolences about my little Yorkie Pepper having passed away in January, I have something sweet to tell you about! In speaking with a friend on Wednesday, I learned that she has baby dachshund puppies that are each about two pounds with a clean bill of health and at this point they are five weeks old. I offered to share the news with you all because so many of you love your dogs (and cats) and I thought you might want to know. If you are interested in hearing more and providing a good, loving, forever home, let me know and I will connect you. Because I have seen their precious pictures, I am including them here to brighten your day too! Caution: be prepared to fall in love!

Until next time, be healthy, safe and happy! Love each other, pray for our troops and our veterans wherever they may be and pray for our country … dear Lord, we sure need it! God bless you all and remember true love is free – God bless you all! If you would like to contact me by cell/text: 252-202-2058 or email: I love y’all! Stay tuned!