Thoughts on voting, veterans

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Voting early, voting absentee or actually going to the polls on election day ó Iíve always preferred the latter. Having lived in the same precinct for decades, many of the familiar faces of poll workers return each year.

Iíve voted in countless elections since turning 18 in 1970. In that time Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton, G.W. Bush, Obama and Trump have served as president. Since 1970, Iíve voted in the three states where Iíve lived, Idaho, Oregon and North Dakota. Iíve voted in school board and highway district elections, in elections for city council and county offices and for state and congressional offices. Iím thinking the number of elections Iíve not voted in during the past 39 years could be counted on two hands, with a few fingers left over.

To everyone who voted for the first time or the first time in many years, every election is important. Make voting a habit.

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My father was a 22-year-old Marine, assigned to driving a supply truck at the Battle of the Chosin with the 1st Marine Division. He survived that epic and historic battle. It was not until I was in my 40s and he was in his 60s that he opened up about his experience. It was harrowing to hear but gave me great insight into how in that most unforgiving foreign land my fatherís lifelong patriotism and gratitude took hold.

One of the stories he shared of his experiences at the Battle of the Chosin was about the 90,000 North Korean civilians who walked out with the Marines. The temperatures were at least 50 below zero and most were not dressed for that weather. But they walked; the elderly, the young, mothers with infants in arms. ďThey voted for freedom with their feet,Ē my father told me.

With election day just past and Veterans Day coming up, my appreciation to all who voted, all who stepped up to put their name on a ballot and to the veterans who through the generations have served to make and keep our country the land of the free.

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Things to do highlights ...

Friday, Andre Feiante-Gypsy Strings perform at 7 p.m. at the Jacklin Arts & Cultural Center. Info: www.thejacklincenter.org

On Saturday, the annual Veterans Recognition Ceremony is 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Lakeland High School, hosted by Manuel Schneidmiller American Legion Post 154. Itís free and open to the public, with lunch served at 1 p.m.

EXCEL Foundation, the Big Event 2019, is at the Coeur díAlene Inn, 5-9 p.m. on Saturday. It benefits classroom grants in School District 271.

On Monday, the city of Hayden hosts Veterans Day and Distinguished Veteran Ceremonies at 11 a.m. at McIntire Family Park.

Also on Monday, the Steven H. Nipp American Legion Post 143 in Post Falls is holding an open house from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. featuring items from the Pappy Boyington Veterans Museum.

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Happy birthday today to Anna Rolphe, Joe Lenon, Laura Gray, Kim Wilhelm and Ken Brandvold. Tomorrow Rocky Watson, Maggie Lyons, Tracy Akerman, John Williams, Mike Dornquast (30!), Lauren Dornquast (30!) and Harold Howard will celebrate. On Friday Keith Allen, Joanne Wilhelm, Jens Jensen, Jeff Tucker and Aaron Birdsall take another trip around the sun.

On Saturday Jim Addis, Gratia Griffith, Austin Gardner, Todd Tondee, Ben Rae, Lori Sherfey, Janine Avila, Gary Ulvan, Matt Lyman and Dennis Hall will eat cake. Nov. 10 birthdays are celebrated by Jeanne Norton, Beverly Pogue, Kathleen Tillman, Bret Bowers, Marlow Hendricks, Doug Eastwood, John Evans, Diane Horton, Dale Broadsword and the U.S. Marine Corps, celebrating 244 years of honor and tradition. Semper Fi.

11/11 birthdays for Ruth Pratt, Ellen Jaeger, Graydon Stanley, Tim Mitchell, Eugene Boyle, Aaron Roberts, Amy Colbert, Ruth Morrow, Kim Malar-Currie, Kelli Fahy, Heather Bryant (30!), Ron Lahr, Keith Boe and Emilia Ovstedal. On Tuesday Faith Mitchell, Chris Arnold, Polly Johnson, Marshall Mend, Dana Ryan, Greg Gervais, Robert Lantz, Antigone Twidt, Brenda Murphy and Amanda Behringer put on their party hats.

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Kerri Rankin Thoreson is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the former publisher of the Post Falls Tribune. Main Street appears every Wednesday in The Press and Kerri can be contacted on Facebook or via email mainstreet@cdapress.com. Follow her on Twitter @kerrithoreson.

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