My season of “Thanks-giving” continues and as I write this column, the election of 2012 has not been decided. As you are reading this now, all of America knows who has won the election, or at least I am counting on that fact. If that isn’t the case then I am sure there were more than hanging chads and lots of questions about voting polling places and who knows what else has made the list. It will be safe to say it’s a mess if this is the case in our Presidential Election.
This week has already presented one big responsibilities for all Americans — the right to vote. I am certainly hard line on this issue. I personal have registered many to vote throughout this past year as I do each year. It is a topic that I hold a lot of passion for. I have no skills that aid me in understanding why folks are not registered to vote and why they do not vote. I find no acceptable excuses and the more of a mess you believe things are in, I would think give you all the more reason to be involved. Having traveled to many different places throughout the world I have seen the conditions of other countries and gaining understanding of their political environment makes me clearly love America, appreciate our democracy and helps me see my role as a citizen. Voting is something that we should demonstrate “thanks” for and by participating we are “giving,” a responsibility we should never fail to honor.
The second big responsibility this week is our chance to honor our Veterans. Sunday is Veterans Day. I am not a fair weather American. I love my country and from the earliest time of my childhood I have always had a high level of respect and appreciation for those who have served our nation. Those who have served in peace time have contributed to our nation’s stability and readiness. A role that is so vital to our security and promotion of democracy around the world. Others have volunteered to serve in wars, some were drafted, and still others have served in conflicts or been active members of our National Guard or Military Reserves. I give thanks from my heart for your giving and for your sacrifice. My thanks also goes to the families of veterans who gave all in defense of our nation.
In my family history I’ve been blessed to be able to trace back those family members who fought all the way back to the American Revolution. During the Civil War my family, like many, had members who fought on both sides. My great-grandfather, Nasby Mills, was born shortly after the Civil War, and he had plenty of stories about that time period. I had great-uncles that fought in the Korean War, World War I and World War II. Most of them never liked to talk about their experience. They did what our country asked them to do and they felt an enormous responsibility to volunteer and enlist. I am confident you, too, have family members from whom you learned the same lessons. The Vietnam War was filled with politics and for many they wished that time could just be forgot in our history. For me, I will not forget, and I will salute the men and women who served without the applause of our nation. Today, the missing are still listed and our vow to never forget should remind us of the cost and we should forever give thanks for those who gave so much. Today’s younger generation has never known a Declaration of War. They have witnessed plenty of conflicts, but no declarations. The one thing that should be clear and without hesitation or reservation is our applause and support for our Veterans! America is great not because of political leadership, but because of her people who have volunteered and surrender all. God Bless America and you should have plenty to list for your “Thanks-giving” too.