, Gloucester, MA

Letters/My View

November 12, 2012

Letter: The meaning of the right to vote

To the editor:

Many people went to the polls last week for different reasons.

I went to celebrate my hard-earned privilege to be an American.

It literally is “earned” as I was not naturalized as a citizen until age 18.

And to be American is to be free. Free from reprisal, conflict and prejudice to offer an opinion. Free to worship or not to worship. Free to pursue happiness.

Dr. Martin Luther King spoke these words on August 18, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial, as he yearned for all people to be free at the most elementary level; and that is with an abundance of tolerance and human dignity.

“...and when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!’”

Voting is a sacred duty for those who can exercise it from those who sacrificed so much to preserve it.

When we vote, we honor those before us who made the event possible. The immigrants who shed all ties to their homeland, from veterans who endured the horrors of war, and those who gave their lives for our country, from those who serve in our churches, community centers, hospices and countless other places where engagement of hands to help others is quietly conducted.

When we vote we honor our fire fighters, police officers and those in uniform all around the world who preserve the status of our security from foes both in and out of our country.

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