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Veterans Day

by Peary Perry
Peary Perry
This week we get to vote in the mid term elections. Next week we have Veterans Day.

As far as I'm concerned, we should combine the two and celebrate Veterans Day on the day we vote.


Glad you asked.

Think about it, if it weren't for Veterans, we wouldn't have elections and the privilege of voting, would we? I find it appalling that our average turnout for election day in this country hovers around 35-40%. We should be ashamed. We live in a time where the citizens of some countries are still denied the right to vote. Worse than this are the countries where the citizens are allowed to vote, but are told who to vote for under penalty of punishment or death. Imagine this happening in our country.

Our country started out peaceful enough, but things changed with the conditions and treatment sent over to us by good old King George III. Common folks decided to take matters into their own hands and a newly formed army led by mostly untrained officers were able to defeat an army of the most powerful country in the world. Our soldiers were poorly equipped, seldom paid, harshly treated and certainly not any match for the English.

We all know what happened, don't we?

The list of struggles for our freedom goes on and on and continues to this very day. You and I may disagree on the current war in Iraq, but at least we are free to disagree. This is a fundamental right that is still not available to many in our world today. I truthfully believe with all of my heart that one of the major reasons our country and our people are so hated by so many in the world is very simple.

These folks dislike us do so for a couple of reasons. They envy what we have and think we are stupid because we do not realize how well off we actually are. In comparison to most of the world, we are a rich nation. We consume more and have more than any other country in the world. Not only do we have more, but also we are on a constant quest to obtain more.

I know, I know, it seems like none of us ever get ahead of the curve with bills every month and our cars breaking down from time to time and oh, yeah, there's that loan or tuition bill that has to be paid. But, compared to rest of the world, we have cars, we have televisions, we have fresh food, and we have electricity and running water. This is certainly not the case for the remainder of the world, is it? Running water, wait; let me correct that, clean, safe running water is on the list of items most wanted by a huge number of people on this planet. Yet, each of us wastes how much each and every day day?

I may have told you this story and if I have, forgive me. Several years ago, we sponsored a couple from China through our church. He had gotten a scholarship to work on his PHD and she came over to help him make a living while he was attending school. They became close friends of ours. The first time she came to our house, we were showing her around and her interest focused on the kitchen. She fell in love with the dishwasher and could not get over how convenient this appliance was and what a labor saving device it was. When we showed her the garbage disposal, she was astonished to think that we ever used it. When we explained that it was used to get rid of unwanted food, her curiosity turned to a very telling question.

"Why would you ever need this?" she asked.

"To dispose of unwanted food," we answered.

"Why?" she persisted. "Is the food bad?"

"Sometimes, but not always…we just don't want it anymore."

"Why not?"

It finally came to the point that she just could not understand why anyone in their right minds would have such a machine in their house. The idea that you would throw away perfectly good food was beyond her range of comprehension.

My point is simply this.

Most of us are better off than a lot of people on this planet and yet we abuse our position by failing to recognize those who sacrificed their lives or their liberty just so we could live in a free country, and have the right to complain about it.

The veterans of yesterday and today made it possible for all of us to vote. Don't let them down, don't let yourself down., vote every time.

If you don't, then you deserve the people who do get elected.

© Peary Perry
Letters From North America >

November 9, 2006 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers
Comments go to www.pearyperry.com
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