The elderly man was wearing a baseball cap with “Vietnam Veteran” embroidered across the front.
It was Election Day, and the man was holding a Republican sample ballot, so I was pretty sure he wasn’t casting his vote for me. I decided to say hello anyway, and I told him I was preparing to write my column about Veterans Day. Then I thanked him for his service in Vietnam. He almost jumped back in shock, apparently surprised that anyone would thank him for something he did so long ago, especially a Democratic office holder. We chatted briefly, and went our separate ways.
Veterans, no matter which war they fought, no matter what their job was, deserve our thanks for their service on behalf of our nation. It seemed especially appropriate to have that brief discussion at the polls, since the right to vote for whom we please, unfettered by government dictates, is one of the important freedoms we have today, protected by the service of so many men and women throughout the years. And so, I hope you will join me in saying “thank you” to all our veterans, young and old, male and female, Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy, and Coast Guard, on Friday, Veterans Day, and all through the year. Veterans are our neighbors, family members, and friends, but even a stranger, like the elderly Vietnam Veteran I met on Tuesday, deserve our thanks and respect.
Election Day 2011 is over, the votes have been tallied, congratulations offered to the winners, and a few tears of consolation shed by those who weren’t victorious. It was a pleasure visiting with voters, volunteers, and election officials at all 25 Mason District precincts, and I want to thank sincerely everyone who came out to vote. It is a privilege to enjoy the confidence and support of so many citizens, and I will do my very best to serve all of Mason District in the coming term. Thank you.
Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org