• "Your vote is part of who you are"

    "I grew up on a plantation in the heart of Klan territory: Lexington, Mississippi, in the 1950s. Emmett Till was killed 35 miles away from where I lived. He was fourteen years old at the time and so was I.

    "Growing up, I couldn’t vote, my father couldn’t vote—none of us could in the South. We were supposed to ‘know our place,’ that’s what they said. When I got to be 18, I saw friends joining the Army, but I chose the Air Force instead. After my years in the Air Force, I moved west, where I became one of the first black stuntmen in Hollywood.

    "My country has given me a great life—and today I vote religiously. We have to, all Americans need to vote. Cars, homes, all these things are luxuries, but your vote is part of who you are, it’s part of your duty to your country. Look at how many people died for the right to vote. Look at the struggle.

    "As a veteran, sometimes I think I look at things a bit differently than most. I remember the way some of the soldiers who were fighting to uphold our freedom were treated after they came back from Vietnam—that wasn’t right. Now look at the way President Obama has been fighting for veterans since before he was even in the Oval Office. The new GI Bill, fighting to clean up Walter Reed, fighting for the VA, and now as President, he’s getting our troops out of Iraq like he said he would and he's fighting to get our troops jobs once they come home.

    "President Obama has consistently stood up for our men and women who wear the uniform. His whole administration has. I’m proud to stand with him as a Democrat and I’m proud to stand with him as a veteran.

    "Today I'm a grandfather, and I may be a little slower than I once was, but my will is still as strong as ever, and if President Obama needs me, I’m there. Because I’m not willing to stand down for him while our Commander-in-Chief stands up for us. Not when our vote means so much to so many.

    "I'm ready to get involved, and I hope other veterans like me are willing to get his back. Because he’s definitely got ours."

    —Willie, Nevada

    2012 Stories