As I said, voting is a privilege, one guaranteed to us by the men and women who have fought over hundreds of years to secure this privilege for us. Men and women who have served in everything from the French and Indian War, Revolutionary War, Civil War, WWI and WW2 – and up to the conflicts overseas that still exist today. Without their sacrifices, without their courage and resilience, we might be in a very different situation here. Every man and woman who suffers from post traumatic stress, life altering injuries, every person lost to a battle, major or minor – these people are the reason we go to the polling stations and do our duty to our people and our country. I first voted at age 18, and have missed one local election since then. I firmly feel that if you don't vote then you abdicate your voice, you lose your right to criticize if you are not part of the process. This is something I've always tried to teach my children and to represent by my actions. Many of our fellow citizens may be severely affected by Hurricane Sandy, and have difficulty getting to the polls. I hope their communities can help make it possible for them to get out and cast their vote.
Just for fun, I thought I'd add a few more lines from Captain Wellings letters written about this time in 1942, per the suggestion of my husband Greg. This time 70 years ago, the ship had just gotten back from their shakedown cruise to northern Africa. On October 25th, he writes to his wife Dolly:
“The men know one another and we have developed some real ship spirit.....This trip has been the best of all shakedowns and we are ready for a frolic or a fray.”
November 10th, 1942 he says while in port in Brooklyn, NY:
“Well, here I am still in the big city. I thought the best destroyer in the Navy would be underway by now on its next assignment, but we are still practicing and I suppose awaiting orders. …..I feel certain that I will remain in the Atlantic for awhile after listening and reading the news about Africa....Don't worry about me or my ship. We can more than take care of ourselves. I have every confidence in our ability to uphold our good name.”
The captain had ultimate confidence in his men and their abilities. Until that torpedo found them, they were living up to his ideal. Remember them on Tuesday as you cast your vote.