Today is Veteran’s Day and just a few days ago was Election Day. The timing of that, while not officially connected in any way, is ironic don’t you think? On Election Day, we vote to elect representatives as part of our free and open democracy. On Veteran’s Day, we recognize the military service men and women who have for centuries sacrificed so much to protect that democracy from those who are threatened by our way of life. Not many people give that much thought. However, for someone intimately involved with elections who also comes from a military family, the correlation seems natural to me.
Military service in my family goes back decades. Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard are all represented (sorry Army!). Service has taken my brothers, uncles, and cousins all over the world both in peace and in war. Each deployment was heart wrenching and each homecoming was filled with joy, but beyond all that, each day has been filled with pride for the sacrifices our family member was making for our country. Veteran’s Day is special for us.
I didn’t serve, but through my work as an election official, I am doing my small part to give back to my community. Elections are hard work because something so vitally important as electing the people who run the country shouldn’t be easy. There are hundreds of hours of preparation that go into each election and that hard work has made Minnesota a model for election administration. We consistently have among the highest voter turnout in the nation and a robust system of checks and balances that keep our elections fair. It’s democracy at work every Election Day.
But should we have one day without the other? It takes all of us doing our own part to make sure the sacrifices of our Veterans are not made in vain. America must support each other by voting in every election and recognizing that our Veteran’s need support not just when they are deployed, but when they come home and need a job, a place to live and, unfortunately for so very many, mental health services.
Veterans are the backbone of this country. Let’s never forget and let’s always be there for them. Let’s make every day Veteran’s Day in honor and recognition of all those who have served.
Be well my friends!