RICHARD A. STEVENSONTwo very important days for all Americans will occur shortly. These are Election Day next Tuesday, November 6, and Veterans Day on Sunday, November 11. On Election Day, we can be thankful for the freedom we have to cast our vote; and on Veterans Day, we honor those who served our Country to ensure our right to vote.

Our Veterans, and those who currently are serving, have made many sacrifices for our Country and for all of us. I am honored to be able to pay tribute to them for their service. Veterans Day originally was called Armistice Day and was first proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson to be celebrated on November 11, 1919.

Armistice Day commemorated the signing of the Armistice that had ended World War I a year earlier. The day was set aside to honor the Veterans of World War I with a day of parades and remembrances. A Congressional Act approved on May 13, 1938, made November 11 a legal holiday.

The 1938 Congressional Act stated Armistice Day was a day “to be dedicated to the cause of world peace.” It was not until 1954 that the word Armistice was replaced by Veterans as a way to recognize all Veterans, not just those who had served in World War I. President Dwight Eisenhower signed the law which changed the name to Veterans Day.

Because Veterans Day is a Federal holiday, some workers and students have the day off from work or school. Since Veterans Day falls on Sunday this year, my office will be closed on Monday, November 12, in honor of our Veterans. On Saturday, November 10, a community celebration will take place beginning with a parade on Parnell Avenue at 11 a.m., and concluding with a ceremony at the Memorial Coliseum. I encourage all of you to say thank you to our Veterans and military personnel, who carry out their patriotic duty to maintain the freedoms of our Country.

One of the freedoms we often take for granted is our right to vote for our Country’s and our local leaders. Election Day this year falls on November 6, and it is a very important election. This is the year in which we decide who our President will be for the next four years. We also will be electing a Senator for the next six years, a Congressman for two years, a Governor for four years, and several local officials and judges, including school board members.

I often hear people making excuses for not voting such as “my vote doesn’t matter,” “I’m too busy” or “I don’t know anything about the candidates.” Your vote does matter. Elections have been won or lost by one vote or just a few votes.

The polls will be open Election Day from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. You can easily find your precinct location by logging on to www.indianavoters.com and then clicking on “Find My Polling Place.” You also can call the Election Board at 449-7329 or the Republican or Democratic Parties.

Early voting is still available at the Allen County Election Board Office, One West Superior Street, just a few blocks west of my office. The remaining dates for early voting are Saturday, November 3, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Monday, November 5, from 8 a.m. to noon. Sample ballots and voting information can be found at www.allencountyvoters.info or by calling the Election Board at 449-7329.

There was a time in this country when African Americans, women and adults under 21 could not vote. Many Americans worked hard to win the right to vote for these groups, while others put their lives on the line in foreign lands to make sure all of us can vote. It is your duty to exercise your right to vote.
Richard A. Stevenson, Sr.
Wayne Township Trustee