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Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

freedom: Vote this Tuesday

These are the times that try men's souls,” the patriot Thomas Paine wrote of Gen. George Washington and his army's retreat from British forces in the winter of 1776. The Revolutionary War was in its infancy and already the Continental Army's hopes of defeating the juggernaut that was military might of Great Britain seemed implausible.

But Washington decided to take the offensive. Leading his men across the Delaware River on Christmas night, Washington captured nearly 1,000 prisoners and attacked the British's rearguard near Princeton in early 1777. The maneuver delivered a shot of morale to the colonist's hopes for independence. The war ended in 1781 and the Treaty of Paris recognized the United States as a nation in 1783.

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But for a brilliant decision by Washington, the war could have been lost before it even began. From that day, came the constitution. And from the constitution, in 1870, came the Fifteenth Amendment, which guarantees all United States citizens the right to vote.

As across the country, Tuesday, June 6 is the primary election for statewide and local political races. This is the chance for your voice to be heard as you cast your ballot for your candidate of choice. Our country was founded on the ideals of freedom and voting is an ultimate expression of that ideal. Citizens in other countries - such as North Korea, Cuba, or Iran - do not have this luxury.

We encourage all registered voters to walk, ride or drive to their respective polling place and cast their ballots on Tuesday.