My grandfather was in the Army Air Corps and stationed at Pearl Harbor when it was bombed on Dec. 7, 1941. I grew up listening to stories, maybe some that were a little too graphic for young children, about his experience that day. He talked a lot about his service — at Pearl Harbor, in Guadalcanal, in the Pacific. I still have the letters he and my grandmother wrote to each other during his time in the military. I really can’t put into words how grateful I am for his service, or for the sacrifice of anyone who chooses a path that includes military service.

Nov. 11 is Veterans Day — a national observance to celebrate those who serve or have served in the U.S. armed forces. Join me in finding ways throughout the year, inspired by Veterans Day, to support our service members and veterans. In addition to attending local Veterans Day events, check out the article on page 35 to learn about other ways to support veterans and service members.

There is another important event in November — and many of my friends who serve in the military say that it is one of the most important freedoms they fight for: elections.

This year, my kids will be old enough to vote. This is alarming to me for several reasons, but that is for another column. When my kids were younger, I took them with me to vote. I wanted them to understand what it is — which in my experience has always been a relatively quick, calm, controlled, secure process. We talked about the fact that while it’s a special privilege to have a voice in some of the country’s most important decisions, it’s also an obligation that requires being informed and committed to participating.

And while I find it frustrating that the process, one that we have relied on for so long as integral to what makes us the America we are, has been doused in gasoline and started on fire in the name of politics, I have faith that most people will continue to share their voice through their ballot. I am so grateful for the many people who put their time and energy into making the elections run so smoothly. If you want to find out exactly what goes into making an election work, check out the story on page 29.

As we inch toward the end of the year, I have a lot of hopes. I hope our kids are settling into a “normal” school year, I hope we are all taking the time to enjoy the brilliant colors that nature gives us here in the mid-Atlantic in the fall, I hope we’re all taking care of our mental health and checking in on each other, and I hope that as we gear up for the holidays we remember that experiences and time together are often far better than the things money can buy (OK, I am talking directly to myself with that last one).


Kym Byrnes

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