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   So yesterday I had the opportunity to participate in another rite of passage with my oldest son Marcus. He turned 18 back in June and November 7th, 2017 will go down in history as a very special day.


   After work I went home to pick up my son and wife so we could head to the Rupert Civic Gym and register him as a voter. I started to feel a little tightness in my throat as we walked through the door of the gym. The emotion of yet another milestone in my son’s life being met caused me to choke up a little. As we approached the area where you register I announced in my proudest dad voice that “this young man would like to register to vote”. The father in me came out as I reached into my pocket to fetch my phone to take a picture of him filling out the voter registration card while he was talking to the nice lady manning the registration table. We, of course, did not have all of paperwork necessary to register him and since we moved we were in the wrong place to vote anyway so we left to acquire the proper documents and travel to the correct polling place. We pulled into the parking lot of Rupert Elementary and followed the signs that indicated where we were to vote. Marcus finished his registration and proceeded to vote.


   As we went through the process of voting I continued to snap pictures of the event.  At the after we received our “I Voted” stickers we paused one final time for one last picture. It was of him, his mother, and me. Mom and I were pointing to the ‘I Voted” sticker on his upper left shoulder. As we took the picture the ladies that were administering the voting started to applaud. They explained to us that they thought it was nice that we were teaching our son the importance of voting to which I agreed.


  You see my father did the same for me when I was young. He was in the Lt. Colonel in the Army Reserves and was a federal park ranger for the U.S. Corps of Engineers and was very civic minded. He taught me that as a citizen we should all exercise our right to vote. He explained to me that many people had died for that right that we as Americans sometimes take for granted. He instilled that value in me at an early age and it stuck with me. I know that he is in heaven looking down on Marcus with pride seeing him become the man he is growing into.


   Yesterday was an affirmation of the things I have been taught. Yesterday I was proud to be an American. Yesterday I had the privilege of standing next to my son at the voting booth and casting our votes beside one another.  It is an experience that I pray all parents have with their children when the time comes.