Viewpoint: Not too late to thank a vetNo matter how anyone feels about the result of the election last week, we know that we live in a democratic nation, one that prizes self-governance, in which the leader is peacefully chosen.
By: Kate Soucheray, columnist, Woodbury Bulletin
No matter how anyone feels about the result of the election last week, we know that we live in a democratic nation, one that prizes self-governance, in which the leader is peacefully chosen. How many of us realize this is simply not the case in so many countries of the world? It is an ideal handed down to us by our forefathers, one in which they fought to protect the liberty to hold these ideals sacred and immoveable, through the provision of our Constitution.
The greatest contribution we can give on any election day is our informed ballot, delivered for those people we believe will provide leadership and a vision of the kind of people we wish to be, and to become. This may sound idealistic but it is at the foundation of who we are. It is the precept of a free people and the mark of a free nation.
How important is this freedom to you? Are you willing, or do you even know, to stand for the National Anthem, take off your hat (if you’re a male), stop talking or chewing your gum and place your hand over your heart? This is respect of the greatest kind, respect for our flag and all it represents. Most of us know the story of the flag: that Betsy Ross stitched it, including thirteen stripes for the number of original colonies and the stars as a symbol of the heavens and the goals to which humankind aspires.
How dare those early colonists think they could break away from the country that provided for their inception? Who did they think they were to stand up to the British and say they wanted self-governance and that they wouldn’t need Britian’s help any longer? Whoa! Who did they think they were to stand up to one of the most powerful countries in the world at that time and speak up for themselves? And yet, these colonists were the settlers of this nation, the very ones who inspire and encourage us today to stand firmly for what we believe.
We may agree or disagree with the outcome of any one election or any one amendment, but the process of freedom has given us the independence to vote in such a way that each adult has the right to have their voice heard and counted. That is simply an incredible experience – to know that it is our right, as well as our responsibility, to take time on Election Day and make our way to the polls to cast our vote.
What would our life be like if we did not have this freedom? Likely, none of us could even comprehend what that would mean for us. We have lived so confidently under the protection of being free and at liberty to govern ourselves, and to act in a manner that we wish, that to even consider this as not the norm, is likely something we have not fully explored.
Gratitude would seem to be the one, and most important, feeling to express at this time. And this freedom and self-governance may be the most significant reason behind immigrants coming to this country –and to be a part of this human experience like none other.
What can you do today to express your gratitude for the freedom you have been given? Veteran’s Day was this past Sunday. Is there someone you know who served our country and would appreciate your expression of thankfulness? Or will there be a field trip for your child’s school to Fort Snelling or the state Capitol this year? If so, could you consider taking work the day off and chaperoning? Or if you don’t remember the Pledge of Allegiance, could you take time to learn it? Also, if you don’t know the words to our National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, could you learn the words and stand proudly at your next sporting event and sing along?
Take pride in this freedom by being an active, involved citizen of this country. Show your support for those who fought for the freedom we experience today and provide an example for your children of how to stand firmly and proudly for what they believe.
Soucheray is a Woodbury resident and a licensed family therapist