Today is Election Day.  When I think of the principles on which our country was founded, the freedoms we enjoy and the cost at which it was obtained, I am often amazed.  We are so blessed to live free!  I’ll be the first to admit our country has a lot of problems.  Absolutely!  But look how you and I have a say in what happens in our city, our state and our country, just by making a few marks and sliding a ballot into a machine.

Now, I will share with you that I am a bit sappy.  I’ll admit it.  I cry during movies (sometimes violently).  I tear up when I step onto Main Street USA at Disney World (shocker!).  But have you ever been to a sporting event and paid attention to the crowd as our National Anthem was played?

Earlier in the year, we were given club seats for a MLB game.  Let me paint you a picture of the room that we ate in prior to taking our seats to watch the game.  The room stood two stories tall with magnificent windows on the outer wall and was full of hustling people.  Hungry sports fans waiting in various lines to savor deep-dish pizza, grab a burger or stadium fries.  There was the pizza line, the salad and pasta bars, the fried foods double-wide window and the drink stations.  TV’s were everywhere so that you could be sure to catch every play.  And tables were scattered on the many levels where families and friends enjoyed their ‘free’ food.  Boy, was it fun!

My son and I were in the pizza line when we heard a loud voice over the speaker ask everyone to stand for the singing of our National Anthem.  Even now, my eyes well up with tears.  Every fan, every employee, every fork, every spoon was stilled.  A hush came upon the room as we watched on the screens the woman along with the flag bearers approached the microphone.  Hats came off and all the action that had just filled the room was suddenly at peace.  Voices were silent except for those that sang along.  And I couldn’t help but think of the beauty of respect.  Whether or not you agree with the direction of our nation, you can still respect the lives lost, the battles fought all to maintain a concept so simple in theory, yet so difficult to maintain…freedom.

So as today is election day, please go out and vote.  Vote because someone is in the desert unsure of what the day will hold just so you can have a voice.  Someone is grieving the loss of their loved one because they were serving our country to protect our freedoms.  Vote to have a say in our nation’s future.

And if you’re now feeling wildly patriotic, here is my all-time favorite version of the Star Spangled Banner sung by Sandi Patty.  Beautiful!!