Even fourteen years before I could vote, Election Day was a big deal to me. My dad would dress in a suit, put on his American flag pin and take me to the polling station near our house in Houston, Texas. No matter how long the line, my dad shared smiles and hellos with fellow voters, and told me why Election Day is the most important day of the year.
“More important than birthdays?” I’d ask.
“The most important day,” he’d say.
My dad is an Albanian, born and raised in the former Yugoslavia. Not only did he grow up in a place without voting rights, but even speaking your mind at all about political leaders could get you killed.
When my dad became a citizen in 1981, it was just as much about the voter registration card as the passport. All those debates we watched over the years would end in more than a heated conversation at the television. Finally, he could show his support for what was most important to him.
This past weekend, my husband– who’s almost as passionate about voting as my dad– went to cast his ballot early to avoid the lines.
“It’s going to be crazy on Election Day,” he reminded me.
“I sure hope so,” I told him.
It’s a madness many countries around the world are denied.
I hope the lines are long. I hope everyone who has the opportunity to vote exercises that right. I hope that, when you’re in line, you smile at the people around you and take in the day. I hope you take your kids with you; I’ll certainly take mine. I hope you educate yourself about the issues that matter and vote for the candidates who care about what you care about.
And I hope you rock that “I voted” sticker all day long.
Do you think it’s important for military families to vote? Tell us in the comments!