I voted this morning and I was proud and honored to do so. I know this was a very long and contentious campaign and I was just as tired of the ads and phone calls as anyone. I do not like what our society has degenerated campaigns and elections into. Although I suspect this is what people have said in every election cycle our United States of America have gone through. That still doesn’t mean I like it.
I was thoroughly disgusted with all the candidates and really questioning why we go through with this whole process. Then I was reminded. November 3, 2013 is a date that will remain stamped in my memory as long as I am alive. It is the day SFC. Forrest Robertson was killed in action in Afghanistan. He was the first person I had ever met in person who was killed in the line of duty and it has made a lasting impression on me.
Without a doubt SFC. Robertson is a hero. He served multiple deployments overseas doing a job most of us could not and protecting all of us. He sacrificed himself so that we could be safe and free. I know his family and I have seen the pain and the pride they have felt in the past year. Pain because this incredible man, husband, father and son were taken from them but also pride in knowing that he died a hero, protecting us and inspiring his men.
Monday night, I sat watching the attack ads, answering the phone calls and throwing away the political fliers, fed up with the whole process. I just wanted to lock the door, shut off the TV and disconnect the phone and forget about the whole election process. Then I saw the reminders about Monday being the one year anniversary of SFC. Robertson’s death in Facebook posts from his mother-in-law. Sunday those emotions had come to the surface in Sunday school class, one I attend with his mother-in-law and wife, and suddenly I got it.
Voting is something that is bigger than negative campaigning, much more important than the silliness all of these candidates have stooped too and certainly worth any inconvenience I may have suffered because of any of them. We often see people in other countries turn out to vote in spite of violence and danger, yet we take our right to vote for granted. We can vote in safety because of the sacrifice and heroism of men and women like SFC. Forrest Robertson. Never take that for granted.
At that moment I decided to dedicate my vote this year and my vote in every upcoming election cycle to Forrest. He can never again cast a vote so it is important that each and every one of us do so in his honor. Will I vote the way he would have? I have no way of knowing, but that is not important. What is important is that we realize the sacrifices that have been made for us and not let them go by the wayside. Exercise your freedoms and your rights and protect them because they came at a great cost.
I will walk into the voting booth this year solemnly knowing the high cost that was paid to afford me the right to cast my ballot. I will cast my vote with the memory of SFC. Forrest Robertson. Without his sacrifices and the sacrifices of the many, many heroes before and after him it is a vote that might not have gotten cast. This is the first time I have ever voted and truly had some understanding of the magnitude of what I am doing. I am forever humbled and vow to never take that right lightly.
The fact that Veteran’s Day is this week is also not lost on me and I hope that each of you will take the time to honor our fallen heroes like SFC. Robertson and those who are still with us. Each of them made a sacrifice and many still carry the cost of that sacrifice. We enjoy our rights and freedoms because of those sacrifices. Freedom is something I hope each of us hold in the highest regard and never let anything or anyone diminish it. It is our duty to SFC. Forrest Robertson.