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A tip of the hat to everyone participating in this past week’s election, whether as a voter or a candidate.

It is easy to sit behind a keyboard and complain, but those who have ever held office know the problems facing all levels of government are often much more complex than they seem to the casual observer. Those whose names appeared on the primary ballot were willing to sign up for an often thankless job that, in some cases, comes with no pay.

We’re glad that voters had more than one candidate to choose from in most of the races we covered, and we are looking forward to seeing those who rose to the top compete in November.

Umatilla County’s turnout stood just below 37%, which is certainly better than some of its primary elections, but still far behind the state’s overall turnout of 46%. If voters in other states can stand in line for hours during a pandemic to vote, it is disappointing that more Umatilla County voters weren’t willing to spend a couple of minutes filling out their ballot at home and dropping it in their mailbox — no stamp required.

Thank you to those voters who did participate in choosing who will represent us in our cities, Oregon Capitol and Washington, D.C.

We hope to see more of you in November.

A tip of the hat to those brave men and women who have given their lives for our country over our nation’s history.

This year’s Memorial Day celebrations will be more muted than usual, given the ongoing pandemic, but truly honoring those sacrifices goes much deeper than flying a flag or giving a speech.

We hope everyone will take some time on Monday to read, listen to or watch accounts of veterans who died in defense of our freedom. Take some time to ponder their sacrifice and what you might do to honor it. Memorial Day is a great opportunity to talk to children about those sacrifices, or to learn more from veterans or Gold Star families who have first-hand knowledge of the terrible toll of war.

From the ragged patriots who first wrested our freedom from the largest empire in the world, to the men and women fighting overseas today, we owe a debt of gratitude that no words in a newspaper will ever repay. So instead, we’ll simply offer our own “thank you” to the chorus of voices around the country.

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