■ Our Say: Thank vet­er­ans for ser­vice in uni­form and on Elec­tion Day

The Capital - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

CAP­I­TAL GAZETTE FILE

Peo­ple pay their re­spects dur­ing a Vet­er­ans Day ser­vice at the Linthicum Vet­er­ans Me­mo­rial.

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