“The soldier is the Army. No army is better than its soldiers. The Soldier is also a citizen. In fact, the highest obligation and privilege of citizenship is that of bearing arms for one’s country.” George S. Patton Jr.
As American citizens, we have many privileges. One is voting. The right to vote is a fundamental aspect of American politics. To cast a ballot most states require you to register to vote by your state’s deadline.
Over the years, many states have added a program for registered voters, called VOTE IN HONOR OF A VETERAN. A wonderful program to honor the men and women who fight for the freedom of all Americans and citizens around the world. Once you fill out your state’s form, they might send you a printable certificate, bumper sticker and/or lapel pin. New states are being added. Any of these states yours? California, Colorado, Florida (by country), Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Main, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina (Charleston County only), Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia
It is very simple according to the state of California: “The Honor Veterans Vote” program provides citizens the opportunity to pay tribute and dedicate their vote to a veteran or active duty service member. By submitting your dedication, you can choose to receive a certificate or a lapel pin to proudly display appreciation for your honored veteran or active duty service member. You can also choose to have an email notification sent to the veteran/service member you are honoring, notifying them of your tribute.” California Voter’s Tributes – “You chose the career you always wanted, and although your life was short-lived because of it, I am proud that I had inspired you to serve this great country. I am proud beyond words to be the daughter of an Airman.”
Colorado – “The Vote in Honor of a Veteran program provides Colorado citizens with a visible tribute to those who so proudly serve and who have served this country in United States Military Service. This program recognizes their efforts to keep our democracy strong and to ensure that we may continue to cast a ballot each election day. This election, Vote in Honor of a Veteran by wearing a personalized button declaring your appreciation for the specific contributions of a particular U.S. Service Member or Veteran.’
Florida (Depends on County) The best way to check is to google or contact your Florida County Election Official. According to Collier County Supervisor of Elections, “We launched our Vote in Honor of a Veteran program in November 2013. We have had an excellent response to our program. The key is to work with community partners. We are very lucky to have so many in Collier County! Today, we have more than 150 veterans honored through our program. Every veteran has a special story to share about their service. One particular veteran who comes to mind is Wayne Smith. Mr. Smith was a POW in Vietnam for several years. He has an incredible story about how he communicated with other POWs while imprisoned.”
Iowa – “The Honor a Veteran with Your Vote” initiative has grown substantially over the past few years. We make an active effort to promote it with VFW and American Legion organizations across Iowa, as well as attending Honor Flights and other events related to Iowa’s veteran community.
Secretary Pate partnered with Hy-Vee (multi-state grocery store chain) to promote the program in conjunction with Veterans Day. Hy-Vee stores celebrate Veterans Day each year by offering a free breakfast buffet to all veterans and active-duty military members as a way of thanking them for their service. Last November, Hy-Vee stores in Iowa distributed 100,000 of the Secretary of State’s “Honor a Veteran” postcards during the breakfast and throughout Veterans Day, encouraging customers to pay tribute to a loved one who served our country.
“This program is a way to recognize the sacrifice of our veterans. They risked their lives to protect our freedoms and our right to vote. We cannot say ‘thank you’ enough to them for their service to our state and our country.” – Paul Pate, Iowa Secretary of State
Kentucky “is home to more than 350,000 veterans. These men and women have made tremendous sacrifices to protect the right to vote, and Kentuckians can show their respect and appreciation by Voting in Honor of a Veteran each time they head to the polls.”
Louisiana “3830 veterans have been honored by Louisiana voters. Complete the form to receive a printable certificate, bumper sticker and/or lapel pin. Voters may dedicate their vote to more than one veteran.” Louisiana Voter’s Tribute: “I am voting in honor of a veteran of the Army. Dedicated to my daddy who went off to war when I was just a toddler. He was a POW in Europe during World War II.”
Maine’s Vote in Honor of a Veteran program was created by former Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky as a “Promote the Vote” initiative for the 2000 General Election. Because of the program’s popularity, as well as the events of September 11, 2001 and their aftermath, the program continues. It offers two unique ways for individuals to recognize the military service of a friend of relative. Maine Voter’s Tribute: “I am voting in honor of Benjamin King, who fought at the Battle of Bunker Hill during the Revolutionary War.”
Minnesota “Our right to vote has been defended by the courage and sacrifice of the many brave men and women who served in our nation’s armed forces. Anyone who has someone in their family or a friend in the armed forces understands the dedication and patriotism demonstrated by these men and women in defense of our freedom and liberty. Many Minnesotans have personal stories to share. These stories pay tribute to a veteran or an active-duty service member. This office encourages you to read these tributes.” Minnesota Voter’s Tribute: “My hero.. my dad. One of his most cherished possessions – the U. S. flag that hangs near the front door. Funny how just a piece of fabric can bring a tear to a man’s eye, a strong man that has lived through a depression, fought a war and raised a family. Thanks dad. I love you.” World War II Veteran
Nebraska “The sacrifices of Nebraska veterans who served our nation in World War II provide the inspiration for a video that is designed to encourage young people to vote. “Vote in Honor of a Veteran” was created by Secretary of State John Gale in 2003 as a tribute to veterans and to promote civics education.”
Nevada “I Vote to Honor a Service Member” is a program to recognize the service and dedication of the men and women who are or have served in our armed forces by encouraging voters to cast their ballot in the names of those who fight to defend our liberty and to protect our right to vote.” Nevada Voter’s Tribute: “I vote to honor US. Army Sgt. Brett James Lawrence Jr. He served two tours in Iraq, totaling 27 months, for which he was awarded a Purple Heart. Brett Jr. was a courageous young man with a heart of gold who fought for our country to protect our freedom. Rest in peace; you will never be forgotten.”
North Carolina successfully launched this program in time for the 2008 General Election, with over 2,000 Veterans honored. The Vote in Honor of a Veteran Program provides North Carolina citizens an opportunity to pay tribute to those that have served, and continue to serve, this country to protect our freedom. You can honor a Veteran on any Election Day by requesting a pin.
Ohio “Throughout the years, men and women in our armed forces have made great sacrifices to protect our freedom and democracy. Today, the courageous members of our military branches continue to serve our country so we all can enjoy one of our most sacred rights – the right to vote. Through the Vote in Honor of a Veteran initiative, you can demonstrate the pride you feel for an individual and, at the same time, encourage others to vote on Election Day.” Ohio Voter’s Tribute: “This veteran served his country with Honor. He is currently sick and will not be able to physically vote this year. Elections are an important this of the year and he has always taken this duty seriously. I would like to vote in honor of him and his service and sacrifice to our great nation.”
South Carolina (Charleston County only) “Your Vote, Our Veterans” is a county-wide program that offers recognition of our brave veterans and provides encouragement to our citizens to vote in greater numbers. We believe it will cause individuals to feel empowered through the pride they feel for veterans and also will encourage them and others to vote. This program is aimed at raising awareness about the importance of voting and highlighting the bond between our veterans and democracy.” Charleston County Voter’s Tribute: “Mr. Husser came to Wando High School and spoke to my class. He gave a powerful speech on why everyone should register to vote. I am registering to vote because the troops that fought for us, are fighting for our freedoms and right to vote.”
Tennessee “The men and women of the U.S. military ensure our freedom and democracy, allowing us to cast a ballot each Election Day. It’s important we honor those who protect that right,” Secretary Hargett said. The free program allows registered Tennessee voters to dedicate their vote to a U.S. veteran or active duty military member. The Division of Elections will send a packet to each participant with an official Honor Vote button and Voter Information Guide. Voters are encouraged to wear the newly redesigned button and vote early or on Election Day in honor of the veteran or service member they are honoring. “
Vermont “The Honor a Vet With Your Vote program was established to provide citizens with the opportunity to honor those who have proudly served this country in the military by recognizing their important contributions to keeping our democracy strong and ensuring that we can cast a ballot each Election Day. Honor a vet with your vote on Election Day by wearing a button to the polls declaring your appreciation for the specific contributions of a particular veteran.”
Washington “Our right to vote is protected by the extraordinary men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces. Now is your chance to thank them for their service! The Office of the Secretary of State invites you to recognize active military and veterans from Washington State by posting a personal story and a photo. We’ll send you a pin to wear proudly in respect and gratitude for your veteran.” Washington Voter Tribute: “Dad and his brother walked 20 miles to enlist. He served primarily in the South Pacific with distinction. He’s a Bronze Star recipient. Being a veteran is one of the highlights of his life. He was a young man from a small town who was changed positively forever by his service. Love you Dad.”
West Virginia “The West Virginia Vote in Honor of a Veteran program is an initiative to honor the brave men and women who have fought and continue to fight for our freedoms. The Mountain State has one of the largest populations of veterans per capita in the nation. This program gives citizens of West Virginia the opportunity to recognize their friends and relatives who serve and have served in the military by practicing their constitutional right to vote.” West Virginia Voter Tribute: “I’m voting in honor of my father, Charles Reynolds. He served our country for 21 years in the Army and several more as a National Guardsmen. He was a Vietnam veteran as well as a desert storm veteran. He is the reason I take my vote seriously and took me to vote in my first election. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of him and I know he’ll be right there with me come election day.”
Abraham Lincoln said it best, “Honor to the soldier and sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country’s cause. Honor, also, to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field and serves, as he best can, the same cause.”