Jeremy and I live life wide open, running full steam ahead every minute to keep up with all that’s happening. It’s a wonderful ride even if a bit hectic at times, and I wouldn’t trade anything for it. 

We like staying busy and don’t want to miss out on something we might regret later, so we pack our schedules full, scrambling to fit it all in and enjoying every second.

There’s a downside to our approach to this crazy ride called life though. Sometimes we miss the little things  — the forest for all the trees, if you will. And, sometimes those “little things” are the most important of all.

Election turnout results last week confirmed the niggling thought in my mind. Jeremy and I aren’t alone. We all need to slow down a bit and make time for the things often forgotten.

My jaw dropped when I heard the county-wide voter turnout for the renewal of a one cent sales tax referendum  — 6.69 percent of the county’s 11,402 registered voters cast a vote. Yes, voter turnout is always lower than most of us are comfortable with, but less than 10 percent is really low. 

Monday, I gathered in the city park with veterans and other community members for the traditional November 11th observance, and I was humbled as we reflected on the sacrifices these men and women have made for our community and our country. 

The veterans who bravely serve to protect the freedoms and rights we often ignore deserve more than a handshake and accolade once a year. Even a heartfelt “thank you for your service” isn’t enough recognition for the time they’ve spent away from family, putting themselves in harm’s way to preserve our American liberties.

We can’t keep missing the little things. 

Our awareness and participation in what’s happening in this community, across the state and nation is, in itself, a nod of appreciation toward our veterans.

I heard several dismissals of this election cycle in the weeks leading up to Election Day: it’s just the sales tax referendum, nothing big on the ballot, folks said. The sheriff’s race isn’t until next year, others said.

Shame on us, all of us.

Each ballot cast  —  regardless of what’s on the ticket  — is more than just a vote, bigger than the issues represented, or the offices up for grabs. Our votes are a direct representation of how much, or how little, we value what those in service do for us each day they pull on their boots and report for duty.

So, thank a veteran for their service and then show them how much you mean it by making your voice heard at the polls. 

Don’t miss the little things. They mean more than you know.

• Sarah Tarr Gove is news editor of The Blackshear Times. Email her at sgove@theblacksheartimes.com.