One thing all veterans have in common is their commitment to defend our democracy, namely the right to vote and self-govern. The right to vote defines our nation and the values we project internationally. It is the American brand, our trademark as the shining city on a hill.
The importance of these values has been palpable in Afghanistan and Iraq. From 2004 to 2005, my fellow veterans protected Afghani and Iraqi citizens as they chose their elected officials and their future. While the path to those first elections might have been imperfect, the sacrifice of our servicemen and women to protect the process was nothing less than honorable.
If voting is worth the lives of Marines in Iraq, isn’t it worth a day off in the United States of America? I’ll share Veterans Day with Election Day so that every American can make it to the polls. There is no better way to honor our veterans’ service than by voting.
And holding elections on Veterans Day won’t dilute the meaningfulness of the day, On the contrary, it will highlight the Americans who protect our freedom to vote in the first place.
The writer is a Marine veteran and Bronze Star with Combat Valor recipient.