Most veterans will tell
anyone who will listen that freedom is paid for by the blood and
sweat of Americans in uniformAmericans who place themselves in
harm's way in all corners of the globe to preserve the rights
that we hold dear.
The foundation of all our basic freedoms as outlined in the Bill
of Rights is the right to choose those who will lead usa right
that is exercised by too few of us. There are always excuses for
not voting. Some complain that the candidates do not measure up.
Others insist they have other things to do on Election Day.
Still others complain that voting will not change things. Too
many make these excuses; none are satisfactory.
In the early years of our republic, Thomas Paine, whose writings
gave breadth and scope to the philosophical underpinnings of the
American Revolution, wrote: "The right of voting for
representatives is the primary right by which other rights are
protected.'' Voting is the core of democracy. It is also a
partial repayment of the debt we owe to those whose lives have
been inevitably altered or cut short in service to us all.
Because it is so important that all those eligible to vote
fulfill what we believe to be an obligation of citizenship by
voting for the candidates of their choicein caucuses, in
primaries, in general electionsVietnam Veterans of America has
launched the VVA Vote for America 2004! campaign. Our goal is
simple: to remind Americans of their civic responsibility.
The nation's first president and commander-in-chief, George
Washington, put it very simply: "The willingness with which our
young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how
justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive
veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by our
We have recorded a series of public service announcements
reminding our fellow citizens that they have an obligation to
vote, and that each of us has a duty to acknowledge and honor
the service and sacrifices of those who have fought for our
freedom by exercising that franchise.
We are sending materials to members across the country to help
them publicize this campaign in their communities, in their
schools, and at meetings of civic and communal and recreational
Particularly now, with a new generation of Americans fighting a
war on terrorism, we cannot afford to forget that freedom takes
a lifetime to preserve and only a second to lose.