■ Our Say: Thank veterans for service in uniform and on Election Day
It is mere coincidence that Election Day and Veterans Day occupy neighboring spots on the calendar. Congress set Election Day as the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in 1845. Veterans Day was created in 1954 when President Dwight Eisenhower changed the name of Armistice Day — marking the end of World War I 100 years ago today — to honor veterans of all wars.
Eisenhower, of course, was one of the veterans elected to office who is easy to remember.
Others include George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and both George W. and George H.W. Bush.
America loves to celebrate military service with political rewards. That some veterans have risen to the pinnacle of public office, though, is no guarantee of victory for veterans on Election Day.
Retired Lt. Col. Mike Rogers, now delegate-elect from District 32, might now be the highest ranking veteran from Anne Arundel about to take office.
Other veterans chosen to represent this community last week include Candace Antwine, a member of the county’s first elected school board, and U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown, the Prince George’s County Democrat who served in Iraq and remains a colonel in the Army Reserve.
There are plenty of veterans with honorable military records who could not win enough support from voters to win on Tuesday: Tim Walters, Brooks Bennett, Harry Freeman and Eve Hurwitz among them.
Yet, despite the fickle desire of voters for veterans in office and the happenstance position of these two important days on our calendar, being a veteran and being an elected official are linked.
While some veterans might tell you they joined up for the job or college tuition benefits or just the notion of adventure, they all have done great service to the nation. The vast majority of those in public office — even those for whom you would never vote — believe in the same ideal of service to the nation.
Nothing makes that connection more abundantly clear than the death last week of Maj. Brent Taylor, 39. The mayor of North Ogden, Utah, he died while on active duty in Afghanistan with the National Guard.
It is tempting to think that electing more veterans might change things. We are now in our 17th year of the War on Terror, which has touched down in more than 75 countries.
But veterans, like America as a whole, are not of one political mind. There are members of the Veterans Caucus in Congress who support continuing the war, and those who deeply want to see it end.
This community is better than many in acknowledging the debt owed to those who choose service in the military, perhaps because of the presence of the Naval Academy and Fort George G. Meade. Services and parades are taking place this weekend, and many businesses offer discounts to veterans by way of gratitude.
Today, however, we’d like to honor Maj. Taylor’s memory by thanking those who seek to extend their commitment to the nation through elections.
To Rogers, Antwine, Brown and all the other veterans who asked for the public’s votes in Anne Arundel County, we say this on Veterans Day:
Thank you for your service.
People pay their respects during a Veterans Day service at the Linthicum Veterans Memorial.