Honor veterans by casting your vote

No one will ever vote a perfect ballot, so go vote what you know. We will make mistakes, but in the end, by majority rule, free choice, expressing ourselves, many times, in the end our goodness and better angels have prevailed.

In this super important election, not to vote magnifies money and our oligarchs, magnifies the vote of those who do.

The following is written for vets, and election day, for letters to the editor, etc, in hopes of prompting you, and yours, to go vote.

One hundred years: Honoring our vets with a wake up call.

Growing up in the forties, we saw friends and family go to war. On VE day we took to the streets to celebrate victory and our heroes.

As a GI, I studied their history and toured battlefields and Dachau.

Dachau, I will never forget. In Munich, awaiting my CO’s return, I strolled upon a “blood ditch” and the ovens. The horror of the holocaust overwhelmed me, and I cried on the hood of my jeep!

Heroic stories of vets I’ve known are many. For now, I share the sacrifice and lessons of two.

I met with Paul Corley, now at 100, to remember World War II. In 1938, he graduated in time to help vanquish the bullies of World War II.

Like Audie Murphy, Corley fought “to hell and back” as a foot soldier in the 3rd Infantry Division. Under fire for 531 consecutive days, across seven countries, 3,000 miles in 30 months, the “blue devils” fought their way from Morocco to Dachau, sustaining 34,000 casualties. (Corley was my teacher, school superintendent, my boss and best man.)

Tom Edgar was elected to the House in 1960 and Betsy wheeled him through the capitol. After D-day, Edgar, CO of the 705th Tank Destroyer Battalion, lost his legs at the “bulge.” Edgar’s CO, Gen. Anthony McAuliffe, visited and honored Edgar at the Greenbrier. (The enemy asked McAuliffe to surrender; he said, “Nuts,” now the name of Bastogne’s museum.)

As we honor our 30 million vets, we need to remember that for the past 100 years, they put their lives on the line to vanquish dictators, madmen like Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin who tortured, slaughtered and burned 100 million people and left their countries in ruins.

As we go to vote, we need to remember our vets and their lessons of history and remind ourselves and our children and listen to Santayana, “those who … cannot remember the past … are condemned to repeat it.”

By empowering everyone, by giving everyone a voice and everyone a choice, imperfect ballot by ballot, by regular elections, little by little, our better angels prevailed and we’ve made lives better for the world.

Is there any better way to honor our veterans — than vote?

If, voters could visit Dachau, nothing more need be said, but until then — this is a wakeup call.

Ken Auvil