The Official Voice of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. ®
An organization chartered by the U.S. Congress

March/April 2004
Photo:Michael Keating
An Obligation Of Citizenship

Most veterans will tell anyone who will listen that freedom is paid for by the blood and sweat of Americans in uniformAmericans 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 usa 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 choicein caucuses, in primaries, in general electionsVietnam 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 nation.''

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 groups.

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.



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