My vote counted.
Your vote counted.
More than anyone else I personally know, my mother’s vote counted. For years my mother has worked at the polls. Last Tuesday she struggled just to get there to cast her own vote. Her greatest regret was that she couldn’t serve at the polls this year due to an annoying and debilitating health issue that is not fatal but extremely painful.
“The only cure is to rest and wait,” they say. “It will get better.”
Hey, it only hurts when you move, blink, or breathe. How does one go to the polls without moving? Impossible. So my mother, Betty Burt Keenan, went to the polls in great pain to vote last Tuesday.
Did you see anyone struggling to stand behind a walker or a cane at the polls? Did you see anyone in a wheelchair? Chances are, they were hurting, too, yet they showed up to vote because it’s right, it’s American, and it’s a privilege.
My mom gave me permission to tell her story as long as I don’t make her out to be a hero. So let’s talk about her brothers for a moment.
Photo Credit: Library of Congress
Born in 1938, Mom was only seven years old when World War II ended. She and her family lived in Washington, DC, which later became the city of my birthplace. Her brother Forrest Marvin Burt told me what he remembers about their older brothers. Forrest remembers their older brothers serving in the Second World War—Stan Burt was in Europe and Lyle Burt in the South Pacific. Like many American families in the early 1940’s, every day the family back home worried over whether or not they’d ever see Stan or Lyle again. Every day their mother prayed for their safe return.
Forrest wasn’t old enough to enlist. He told me, “I wanted to work at BURCO because it stood for something, a factory that built aircraft parts and other things for the government.”
Their mother (my grandmother), May Burt, worked with the neighbor next door to help the war effort at a factory that inspected war ammunition parts.
My Uncle Forrest said, “She was so proud of that job. It was part of the war effort that women worked at home so the men could go to war.”
Their father (my grandfather), Earl Burt, became an operating engineer for the Department of Commerce with the United States government.
The Burt family was one of thousands of families that wholeheartedly participated in liberating the world from the likes of Adolf Hitler and his inner circle of henchmen in the Third Reich. I shudder to think where our human family would be today had we not won that war.
Back to my mother.
Last Tuesday my mother’s friend Norma took her to the polls to vote. When they got there, the lines extended outside the building.
“I know I can’t stand that long,” my mother said.
Norma took my mother home, but went back to the polls to see if she could get her friend Betty to go directly inside to vote. YES! Norma went back home and, even though every step was extremely painful, my mother returned to the polls for the second time. She slowly made her way inside, registered, and voted.
In reality, my mother is one of many seniors and physically disabled people of all ages who struggled last Tuesday to get in their cars and get to the polls. Many of our voters wore medals, caps, and military uniforms.
In the next blog, I want to share a bit more about my mother’s unique faith and family history and some of her own writings. What does all this have to do with “Lift Jesus’ Cross” blog? Freedom isn’t free. If I lived in Iraq or Syria or a dozen other oppressive nations today, I could not write this blog. I’m proud to be an American.
Raising the Flag at 9/11 World Trade Center, Ground Zero
Raising the Flag at Iwo Jima