To the editor,

I am grateful for the 16,788 DeSoto County residents that voted Tuesday. 91,852 registered voters did not vote. How do we address voter apathy?

Allow me to rant, please.

My father, W.D. Gardner, fought in the 13th Armored Division of Patton’s Third Army in Germany and France. He was shot at and many of those in his battalion lost their lives for our right to vote. America’s Greatest Generation is the reason that we don’t speak German today.

I remember in 1969, as a 10 year old, crying the day my big brother Barney Gardner left for Vietnam. He was stationed near the DMZ with the 101st Airborne. He fought and many of his buddies lost their lives in that unpopular war to stop the advance of Communism in Southeast Asia and for our right to vote. They are the reason that we are not under Communist rule today.

Ross and Sissy Fernandez Ose from Hernando lost their only child, Lance Corporal Josh Ose, USMC on Sept. 20, 2010 while serving our country in Afghanistan. Josh was 19 and a 2009 graduate of Hernando High School. Josh and many like him fought and made the ultimate sacrifice to stop the advance of terrorism and for our right to vote.

On Nov. 5, in just two short months, we get the chance to exercise our right to vote again. Hundreds of thousands of brave Americans shed their blood for that precious right. Talk to your friends and family that didn’t vote.

In a week or so, our Circuit Court Clerk, Dale Thompson, will have the list available of who voted and who didn’t. I plan to get a copy of that list, not to fuss at those who didn’t, but to encourage them.

Will you join me? Will you be responsible for getting 10 people to the polls? A group text to 10 people takes about two minutes to compose.

I am not sure how many feel as strongly about this as I do, but for me, it’s personal. For my family, it’s personal. For Ross and Sissy, it’s personal.

Will you join me in this attempt to get out the vote?

Mark Gardner, DeSoto County Supervisor