C doesn't vote.
The first time I heard that (years ago) I think my jaw dropped. I couldn't believe it. He enlisted at 17. Months before he could legally vote for those who represent us, he - and his parents - signed his first contract with this nation. I don't think C has ever voted - in any election. For those of you who are freaking out like I did when I found out: take a deep breath and listen.
Many service members choose not to vote. (Yes, I was shocked by this as well). I am sure they all have their own personal reasons but I can explain it the way that it was explained to me with my jaw hanging open and eyes bugging out of my head in disbelief. I cannot speak for all those who serve but I would think that for many of them this is their reason too.
When a soldier makes a vow to this nation - and that is what it is, a solemn vow - they become a servant of the citizens of these United States. They stand up and do whatever is asked of them despite the party in power or ideology of those elected because these people in place were elected by the people. They go where they are sent, they do what they are told, they act always with those they serve in mind. There is no room for their personal opinions, their personal ideology, their personal feelings on what does or does not take place in government. Such things can cloud their minds, take them from the task at hand. Many of them step away from this sacred right so that they can best ensure that we keep it for ourselves.
I cannot tell you how much I struggled with idea when C first told me. I have voted since I was eighteen. I watch political debates (for either party), I read articles, I have opinions - strong ones. I have always believed that to not vote is irresponsible, if you don't vote you have no right to voice an opinion on the outcome. But this is not the same.
Because whether they vote or not those who defend us always, always root for America. They root for her people. They root for her children. They root for her future. They do everything in their power to ensure we are safe, that our rights stay in place, that nothing threatens our liberty. And they do it, very often, without saying a word, without giving a political opinion, without casting a vote. They put their faith in us to do that. They put their hope in us to make the decisions for this nation - to decide what things they will defend and how they will defend them, we decide what orders will be giving by deciding to whom we will give that power.
These are selfless men, selfless women, who will do whatever is asked by those we elect, with no contest. No matter what faith we do - or do not - put in them, they keep their faith in us. They have to. Their jobs would mean nothing if they did not believe in the people they defend. They never stop rooting for us, for this nation. Never.
They only ask that we do the same.
"A soldier doesn't fight because he hates what is in front of him. A soldier fights because he loves what he left behind." - unknown
"God is our refuge and strength. He will protect us and make us strong" (ps 46:1). For those who will fly today, for those who are there now, and for those who will soon join the fight, Lord, shield them from all evil, strengthen their hearts, and bring them home safely.