Tuesday, October 29, 2013
© Copyright 2013
Gwinnett Daily Post
President John F. Kennedy is often cited for his famous line, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country.” As local elections commence and veterans are honored for their sacrifices, I think it is helpful to remind ourselves of the privileges and responsibilities we possess as American citizens.
Many citizens enjoy the benefits of American society without considering how they might contribute to its greatness. Yet, there is a group who has gone before us to ensure our rights and our freedom. These men and women are our veterans. Veterans epitomize a citizen’s ultimate choice to give back to society. They have sacrificed youth, time with family and livelihood. They have bled, been wounded, lived challenging lives, even lost their lives and all for our freedom, our privilege to be named a U.S. citizen. On Nov. 11, Veterans across America will be honored for their sacrifice and I can think of no greater way to prepare for that day of honor than to exercise one of the greatest privileges we have received from their sacrifice — the privilege and right to vote.
As Americans we have many constitutional rights. Some of those rights include the freedom of speech, the free exercise of religion and the right to bear arms. These rights are all important but the right that appears most often in the constitutional text is the right to vote. Our veterans have fought for the constitutional rights. We the people, who comprise America, have the opportunity to exercise our most important responsibility. On Nov. 5, citizens from Lawrenceville as well as other cities and local communities will have the the opportunity to vote for future leaders. You will have opportunity to share your opinion on what you believe is in the best interest for your community. You will decide — one way or the other — the direction Lawrenceville and other local cities will take for the next four years.
Life is not about taking. It is about giving. We need to be a strong country again, but each and every one of us must do our part. We must vote. When we vote, we immediately become part of the solution. On Nov. 5, we can vote. On Nov. 11, we can honor our veterans. Show your appreciation and exercise your privilege. Answer President Kennedy’s challenge and do your part for your community and your nation.
Judy Jordan Johnson is Mayor of the City of Lawrenceville. She was first elected mayor in November 2010 and prior to that served on the City Council from 2003-08. She is a lifelong resident of Lawrenceville and taught math at Central Gwinnett High School for 30 years.