City and school elections are scheduled for the
first weekend in May and already candidate forums are being
scheduled. One such is this Thursday, March 27 at 7 p.m. in the
Great Hall which is in the education building of the First United
Methodist Church on Eldridge Road. There candidates for the Sugar
Land City Council will be Q and Aed by the Old Sugar Land
Homeowners Alliance. The education building is directly across the
street from the library at the corner of Eldridge and Seventh.
These upcoming elections reminded me of an
essay I received after the last election. I decided to save it for
the next election in hopes of persuading some of you to vote.
Besides, nobody has ticked me off this week.
By Pam Vollmar
As I got ready for work Tuesday morning, the
thought occurred to me that I needed to vote. That would be easy-I
could just drop by on my way to work and run in to the school and
cast my ballot. I walked over to the voting booth, picked up my
grease pencil and started to mark the bubble to indicate that I
would like to vote a straight party ticket. As my pencil hovered
over the bubble, all of a sudden, a rush of feelings and memories
came to my mind.
I remembered being on a senior year choir trip
to Prague which opened this young American's eyes to the true
meaning of Freedom. Our visit was only four years after the
Russians had stormed Czechoslovakia and placed the government
under communist control. Our tour guide was a soft-spoken, well
dressed gentleman who had been a lawyer. The communist would not
allow him to practice law or leave the country and had given him
the job of tour guide. He felt he could not leave the country
because the communist threatened the well-being of his grown
daughter staying in the country. The walls of the hotel had bullet
holes in them where a machine gun had sprayed down the street. I
would put my fingers in the holes as we walked to our rooms. The
new dorms that we stayed in were crumbling cinder block structures
that were in no better shape that the schools that had been
condemned when I was in middle school. That trip made a lasting
impression on this teenage spoiled American about the goodness of
I remembered all the images of the service men
and women that I had seen over the years that have given not only
of themselves but also their lives to protect this moment for me.
All the television pictures from Vietnam, the Gulf War, Yemen, the
Iwo Jima monument, and Black Hawk Down flashed through my mind.
When I realized that my own sons could very well be those
pictures, these men and women became as precious to me as my own
children. Their sacrifice took on a new meaning.
I remembered my recent unsuccessful campaign
for public office. Because of that campaign, I recognize what each
candidate has been experiencing in the last few months. I
understand how overwhelming it can be to meet so many people and
have to be at so many functions.. I understand how you continually
share your vision hoping that others will get excited too so that
they can help build a better tomorrow. I know how it hurts when
you hear rumors about you that are totally false but you go on
because you know in your heart who you are. I know how bad your
feet hurt and how much you want a meal that isnít chicken. And
most importantly, I know that most candidates do all this because
they really want to make things better for us. They want to speak
for us. They want to represent us.
As I stood there with my pencil hovering over
the straight ticket bubble, all these memories and images flashed
through my mind in an instance, and in that instant I knew that I
had to color in each bubble beside the name of the candidate that
I wanted to vote for. I was grateful that I had the Freedom to
mark that bubble and I wanted to savor that moment. For me,
coloring in each bubble became a sign of respect - respect for all
those that had sacrificed so that our country could be free,
respect for our service men and women that protect us daily, and
respect for all that each candidate had laid on the line in their
bid for the office.
Getting to work on time didnít seem so
important any more. I knew that I needed to take an extra four
minutes and mark every bubble on that ballot even though I knew I
would vote straight ticket. After all, these four minutes had been
secured for me by the sacrifice of so many faces that I will never
know; and the price for these four minutes has been higher than I
can even image. Four minutes is not much time and marking circles
on a ballot is not a difficult thing to do, but when I voted on
Tuesday, I felt that it was the greatest gesture that I could give
to show respect to all those before me that had ensured my Freedom
to experience this moment.