Editor: November a time to reflect

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Lee Shappell is InMaricopa's editorial director.

I’ve always loved November.

The crisp days of autumn and the smell of burning leaves — it was legal then — are pleasant memories from my youth in Ohio. Nothing better than November in the Midwest. Except, maybe, October. But only because the colored leaves were still on the trees.

We looked forward late in the month to Thanksgiving with relatives, and more food than anyone could, or should, eat. I understand now how fortunate we were, because not everyone had that.

And, for me, November is special because about halfway through is my birthday. As a kid, I couldn’t wait. Now, it’s more of a “meh,” and if someone were to place the correct number of candles on a cake, the fire marshal would be there.

Maybe the most important event in November, though, is the least celebrated. People blow past Veterans Day with an eye on Thanksgiving the way vacationers blow through Maricopa with their eye on San Diego.

And that is sad.

In our November issue of InMaricopa, we attempt to do our part to heighten awareness of those who have served us, highlighting the sacrifices they made and, just as important, the sacrifices their families made, sometimes going years without seeing their duty-bound loved ones.

Our Justin Griffin has researched and written a splendid Veterans Day package, telling the stories of several Maricopans who have served us.

Don’t ignore Veterans Day.

We haven’t always been the best stewards and practitioners of the rights that separate us from the rest of the world, but we still have them because men and women for generations put on the uniform of the United States of America and fought to protect and preserve them.

Many of them carry scars to this day that are visible and some that are not.

They’ve protected our right to . . . complain about everything.

The right to vote and the right to free speech are among our most precious.

Please exercise your precious right and vote on Nov. 8. Anything less is a slap to our veterans of the armed forces.

And if you encounter a veteran on Nov. 11, don’t forget to thank him or her for their service.

This content was first published in the November edition of InMaricopa magazine.