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Get Your Vote On November 7, 2006

Posted by Jay Medina in Personal Stuff.
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SGT Medina and LT Cockrell at the statue of Abu Nuwas

Regardless of your party, or views, there really is no good reason not to vote. During the Presidential election of 2004, I was in Iraq. My then-Lieutenant and now best friend, Devon, was our Platoon Leader. He made sure everyone had an opportunity to vote. He organized a briefing to inform soldiers in our unit on how to register to vote absentee, and then myself and a couple of other NCOs ran a table at the back of the room to help every soldier that wanted to register in their home state and county.

Devon was tireless in his effort, because it meant so much to him, and to be able to vote in Iraq was very American in it’s own right. Now, any time I hear about people giving reasons not to vote, I think of my buddy, Devon, who didn’t let 10,000 miles of distance stop any American from voting who wanted to.

That same year, the Iraqis had their first free elections in many decades, if ever. Our unit supported that effort directly by helping set up barriers and barricades as well as helping provide physical security for many of the voting stations. I will always be proud of the soldiers from my platoon who went there and helped give the Iraqis the power, the means, and the security to vote. I remember speaking with our platoon’s translator who had a purple finger, a sign that he voted. Mr. Karim was so happy he could vote. He couldn’t stop smiling and thanking me and my platoon-mates for making it possible for him to vote and have freedom.

At the voting stations, Iraqis that heard of the suicide bombers and thugs trying to intimidate voters into not taking part in the election were chanting, “We are not afraid!”

Remembering those things gets me a little choked up. Voting is a precious freedom we have as Americans. And like anything we are just given, we may not appreciate it as much as if we had to fight for it. Well, some have fought for it and some haven’t, but that doesn’t diminish it’s power or it’s preciousness.

Please do your civic duty and vote. There is too much at stake to leave your voice unheard. Thanks, Devon, thank you Equipment Platoon, and thank you for reading.

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