While Nebraskans are hard-working, independent-minded, and liberty-loving citizens, we nevertheless seem rather lackluster at times about exercising a precious and hard-earned right -- the right to vote. We are now approaching a hotly contested presidential race and a U.S. Senate race in Nebraska. How do we intend to respond?
In the last two presidential elections, Nebraska set records for the number of voters. The 2004 election saw 792,906 voters (68.3 percent of registered voters), and the 2008 general election topped that with 811,923 voters (70.2 percent of registered voters).
Will we set a record in the November election? It’s hard to tell. I hope so. Nebraska voting numbers are not as encouraging when a presidential race is not on the ballot.
It’s never just the federal candidates at the top of the ballot who are impacted by low turnout. Low turnout also affects many races on the ballot for state, county and local elections. Those races matter as well and impact us in a very real way.
With the approach of Veteran’s Day on Nov. 11, we are reminded of the monumental sacrifices made by millions of Americans who have served in the military. Their sacrifices have resulted in the freedoms which we enjoy today, one of which includes the right to vote.
Each year, my office encourages Nebraska schools to take part in a program called, "Honor a Veteran," which celebrates our nation and the veterans who have defended it. As part of those events, the National Guard furnishes honor guards where possible, and speakers for the schools.
Not only is this a unique opportunity for the students, it’s an emotional one for the veterans as well. At one such event, a WWII veteran came up and shook my hand with tears in his eyes, and said he had never been so warmly thanked for his service until that day. Yes, that is what he said, "had never before been so warmly thanked."
So before they can even vote our young people are learning the lesson that – freedom isn’t free. It comes with sacrifice. But what is the lesson for the rest of us? Maybe it’s the same.
The Constitution begins with the thrilling words, "We, The People of the United States of America, in order to form a more perfect Union…" Yes, we are still "The People." It wasn’t just our forefathers back in 1777.
We should remember what others, generation after generation, have done since then to also ensure our freedom and liberties today; which we enjoy day after day without fear of tomorrow. Should we take those freedoms for granted? Or can we be counted on to be one of "The People" and honor our country’s veterans by casting a ballot in this presidential election?
Secretary of State
Before judging consider the family
Holding a BA in communications, I understand the drive of the media and the frenzy of people that feed off of it. But on Oct. 2 that drive and frenzy for the news ripped my heart out. For once, the news became REAL for me -- that was my family! My loved ones! And simply stating the facts didn’t leave an accurate description of my loved ones.
My 8-year-old daughter summed my feelings up perfectly when she cried out: "Don’t they know that is MY Nana and Big Dad?" So, I want to share with you OUR Nana and Big Dad.
Debra Miller was a daughter, a wife, a mother, a grandmother and my mother in law. Of all these titles, she bragged the most about being a Nana to the ‘world’s best grandchildren.’ Nana was a funny, amazing, brilliant, and loyal woman. She was a Southern lady by birth and proud of her heritage. She loved her family immensely -- her husband of 38 years and high school sweetheart, her children and her grandchildren.
She was my best friend, my confidante, my support, my admiration and my inspiration. She taught me so much and those are the things I choose to remember.
And the circumstances involving her last moments on earth are troubling, but she would be horrified at being remembered as "the woman that died on M St., in the big pink house."
Debra Miller adored her husband and he adored his wife. In the 40 years they were together, he had never struck her or been violent. This man would sleep beside her on the floor if she was sick on the couch. They spent each evening together discussing the day’s events. They were a very affectionate and devoted couple that had spent years nurturing and fueling their love for each other. He would do anything to make her happy.
My daughters describe their Big Dad as "the grandfather of awesomeness." He loved his wife. He loves his children and adores his grandchildren.
The events that transpired at 1003 M St. on Oct. 1 are very unsettling and so uncharacteristic of this family, that it leaves a raw spot in my heart. I am not offering any answers to what happened that night, but what I am asking is that before making harsh judgements and accusations, please consider how we feel.
Please do not define a man based on one night compared to all the other nights he spent with his wife. We are all devastated with the passing of our wife, mother and grandmother, and we loved her deeply.
Pleasant View, Tenn.
Relay for Life needs volunteers
The American Cancer Society has been an active part of Hamilton County for many years, offering a number of patient and family services, cancer support groups, tobacco control programs, lifesaving educational tools and research. Soon to approach its 100th year, the society continues its mission, thanks to the help of generous volunteers and dedicated staff.
The American Cancer Society Relay for Life is a community event in every sense of the word. It is a chance for the community to come together for one common cause. Being a part of Relay for Life means you are making life better for cancer survivors, patients and their families.
But we are faced with a critical shortage of volunteer leaders. With the challenges of our economy and dad-to-day demands, time has become a premium and many people are finding it more difficult to participate in community service. It is because of the volunteers who preceded us, however, that certain types of cancer are now highly treatable, or even curable. With more help, we will continue to win the fight.
The American Cancer Society needs your help now. Plans are now under way for the annual Relay for Life of Hamilton County, to support cutting-edge cancer research, help provide free transportation to treatment, help prevent youth smoking, publish lifesaving literature and develop a new generations of weapons to fight cancer.
We will be having a meeting Tuesday, Oct. 23 from 7 to 8 p.m. in the Aurora Public Library in Aurora. This meeting will be a great opportunity for survivors and their caregivers, families and friends to join in the planning of the 2013 Relay for Life of Hamilton County event and help us fight back against cancer.
Pleas let us know if you have any questions or concerns by contacting any of the event leadership. Thank you for all that you do for your community and Relay for Life. We hope you can join us in making Relay for Life of Hamilton County better than ever in 2012.
Car show benefits local TeamMates
Once again I am reminded of the goodness in people. As the new TeamMates coordinator I see the generosity of people in our community over and over again. TeamMates is the mentoring program for young people that was founded by Nancy and Tom Osborne.
This past Sunday was no exception. Harv Bish again gave all the proceeds from his Classic Car Show to our Aurora TeamMates Chapter.
Individuals, organizations, businesses and foundations of our community continually provide time and financial support. The mentors give one hour a week to be at school with their mentees. Because of all the volunteers this program can make a difference in the lives of our youth.
The list of those making a difference goes on and on. With gratitude, we thank you for your goodness.
Business support much appreciated
The students of Aurora High School were treated last week at our Career & College Day with a record number of business representatives. There were 120 businesses in attendance -- what an incredible opportunity for our students!
There are so many things that make Aurora special, and the support from the business community is astounding and sincerely appreciated! You are all making a difference if the lives of our students with your encouragement and involvement. Thank you.