A couple of weeks ago one of our neighbors passed away. He was over 90 years old at the time of his passing and truly was one of the "Greatest Generation". I grew up admiring him as a youth but by admiration only grew as I became an adult. That was when I really learned about what kind of man and patriot my neighbor was.
As a child he survived the Great Depression combined with the Dust Bowl. I cannot imagine the sacrifice and suffering that growing up the 20s and 30s must have meant. After that came World War II and he served our country, protecting our freedoms and enduring even more danger and hardship. Finally he came home, worked, saved and scrimped until he and his wife could buy a farm where they would raise their family. He loved agriculture, working the land and wanted no more than to go out and work his land each day.
What causes me to remember him today was his deep love for his country. I remember until just recently he marched with the American Legion as part of the color guard at nearly every parade. I also remember that he flew an American Flag every day in front of his home. He was proud to have served his country and even prouder to be a citizen of the United States. That love for this great nation is why I remember him on the eve of election day.
I am sure each of us knows a Lyle, and I hope everyone had a chance to really get to know someone like Lyle. He knew what true sacrifice for freedom and country meant and I know that he never took them for granted. I would also guess that he never took for granted the right he preserved for all of us to cast a ballot in a free election to determine the direction of the United States.
So as tomorrow rolls around, think back to someone you know from the "Greatest Generation" and think of everything they did to preserve your right to vote tomorrow. While you are at it, make sure you become informed about the candidates. I am not endorsing one party or the other, you were given the freedom to choose who you vote for, exercise that freedom too. I promise you that tomorrow I will proudly cast my ballot and just as proudly wear the sticker in memory of my neighbor, Lyle.