By Wyndi Veigel

This year marks 100 years that women earned the right to vote with the passing of the 19th amendment. Though the actually anniversary is actually this summer, with upcoming elections I simply thought it was an appropriate time to share a story and encourage people to get out there and vote.

I’m not here to push anyone to vote this way or that way, but rather, as a female to remind my fellow women that 100 years ago we couldn’t vote.

Unlike many of my friends and coworkers, I grew up having a long-lasting and terrific friendship with my great-grandma, who I affectionately called G.G. (short for great grandma.) Originally from Bonham, she and her family, in a wagon train migrated from there to the Texas Panhandle to reside in the small town of Wellington. Born in 1907, she was a teenager in 1920 when women got the right to vote.

I have a lot of great memories as a child of my GG … we quilted together, cooked together, played Barbies together. I can remember stories of the dust bowl era and plotlines of ‘The Young and the Restless’ that I was treated to during summer breaks.

Perhaps the greatest lesson and story I learned though was not to take voting for granted, especially as a woman. My GG didn’t drive. Ever. But she never missed the opportunity to vote whether it was relying on someone from church to take her to a polling place, or my grandma, once my great-grandpa passed away.

When she got older and moved to an assisted living center to be closer to my grandma and family, I would often walk right across the road from the high school to go visit her each day after school. Seeing my ‘I voted’ sticker for the first time, she smiled and said, ‘Good job.’ I was 19 at the time and my first presidential election in 2000 was that between George W. Bush and Al Gore – the vote of the hanging chads.

Looking back on that now, it was kind of an exciting election for it to have been my first and I definitely didn’t understand what a ‘chad’ was or how they could cause problems. But I learned.

Most importantly, though, I learned as a female American, heck as any American, we should get out and exercise our right to vote each and every chance we get. My personal opinion is though presidential races get so much attention, honestly local races impact our lives just as much, if not more so.

Local elections are May 2 for city and school districts and primaries are March 3 for commissioner, sheriff etc.

Do your job and vote. We promise you won’t have to figure out what a hanging chad is.

— Wyndi Veigel is the editor of the Marshall News Messenger. When she isn’t being sappy, she can be found taking photos of flashing lights on firetrucks or police cars or reading a nice mystery novel.