The vote: a most sacred human rite
BUG GUTS & BEAUTY
By Orpheus Allison
Their names adorn the entranceway of the high school. Poured into brass plaques hanging from the walls. Carved in stone at the memorial on Main Street and quiet markers in the fields of remembrance. Our hallowed heroes lie in eternal peace; only memories to times gone past.
Once they carried on with friends and family; making plans; courting wives and husbands; fathers and mothers of children now grown old. They are our sacred dead. Called by their country, they served to their last breath. Homage we pay to their memories; crying the tears of family, friends, and memories long forgotten. We furl the flags; muffle the drums; and march to a cadence slow. Simple hard working souls who loved, laughed, and made our days memorable.
These thoughts come to mind as we approach the most solemn duty of all: The vote. Teaching overseas made clear the importance of choosing our leaders. Surrounded by millions, that simple act of marking a piece of paper gave new meaning to the truth of freedom. The future course of kind and country secured by ink on paper in a solemn ritual that few others will ever know. This, the hallowed souls of boys and girls long gone from summer fields sighed in the breeze. To the beat of drums, the skirl of pipes and fifes they marched into history to save this most sacred rite, the vote.
My students were always fascinated with the documents that came with casting a ballot away from home. Thanks to the Norman conquest English is full of all sorts of French and Latin words of law. Ascertain, affadavit, bona-fide, signatory and their families became lessons and illustrations of the richness a living language had. Signed, sealed, notarized and delivered the process that an ex-pat American went through to participate in an election was thrilling to watch and see take place. Few of my students would have the right to speak their choice in leaders and direction.
A hard won right to say who and where the country will go. Earned on the blood, sweat, and tears of men and women known but to the heavens brings a solemn responsibility to continue that exercise. Those veterans deserve our thanks that we may cast our vote for a future.
One simple gesture, an X in a box carries the weight of all souls who perished that we might live in a better world. Honor our fallen by casting your vote.
Orpheus Allison is a photojournalist living in The County who graduated from UMPI and earned a master of liberal arts degree from the University of North Carolina. He began his journalism career at WAGM television later working in many different areas of the US. After 20 years of television he changed careers and taught in China and Korea.