Summer is now long over. As we grow close to the end of another year, we’re coming upon a day on which we commemorate our Veterans. Originally named Armistice Day after the conclusion of the First World War, Veteran’s Day is an occasion on which we recognize how it is we came to be free.

Veteran’s Day is but one day in our lives, but for those who have suffered the consequences of war, and their families and loved ones, every day is Veteran’s Day. Thousands of brave men and women who served in the military are living with the wounds of war. B&B actively supports Wounded Warrior Anglers, an organization devoted to helping returning soldiers adapt to life away from the battlefield.

When you think of our veterans, remember that one of the most astounding facts about the United States of America is that for the first time in the history of the world a nation was founded on fundamental principles. America is not a nation founded on a shared culture or religion. It is built on the ideals of freedom and equality. This is a country created to permit you to pursue your life in your own way without interference.

This nation has for hundreds of years attracted people from around the world. Some are escaping the oppression of a tyrannical regime. Others are coming for the opportunities that await them. For whatever reasons people arrive on our shores, America is the place to come to build a better life. For this reason, America has always been a melting pot. As early as 1620, when the Pilgrims settled in Massachusetts, there were already over a dozen languages being spoken in New York City. We are a nation of volunteers. People come here because they want to live better lives.

Diversity brings with it complexities. Democracy has never been easy. In fact, no form of government has ever been easy, but democracy has its peculiar challenges, because in our form of it, every person has an equal voice in the election of our representatives. The vote is not only a great and cherished right; it is the most serious of responsibilities for our citizens. The vote you can so easily cast this November 8 is a right that many of our fellow citizens, the veterans, have sacrificed their very lives to protect.

In this highly charged election year it’s especially important to have your vote counted. The presidential campaign may have been largely contested based on the candidates’ personalities, but the real importance how the winner of the election will impact the direction the country takes. The election is not a popularity contest; it sets the direction for the country. What happens with your vote will impact the lives of your children and grandchildren.

Men and women have died to protect your franchise. Please honor their contribution. Cast your vote. Take up your responsibility as an American citizen and let your voice be counted. One of the things you learn in the military is that no job is too small. Every one of them needs to be done. So if you think your vote doesn’t count, think again. Exercise your right. Serve your country: VOTE!