David Gregg doesn’t hesitate to name the most patriotic man he knows – his father, Clyde Gregg.
Clyde Gregg, now 85, served in the military as a combat engineer stationed in Germany during the Korean War, and for 42 years as a minister and missionary.
Of all the firsts he has experienced, voting in the Aug. 15 U.S. Senate race was one of the most memorable, Clyde Gregg said.
Tuesday’s primary marked his first time to ever vote.
“I know it’s sort of shocking when people hear I’ve never voted, mainly because I’m so patriotic,” he said. “I never liked politics to start with, but I love my country and I don’t like what it’s becoming.”
David Gregg said he was thrilled when his parents told him they were going with him to the polls.
Though he’s had strong feelings politically in the past, Clyde Gregg says he doesn’t recall times being more volatile than now, a society he describes as “absolutely out of control.”
National events such as the tearing down of historical statues and violent protests occurring on a regular basis have led Clyde to believe one thing: the country’s Constitution is in grave danger of being destroyed.
That fear drove him to the polls on Tuesday.
“I served this country under that Constitution, and I just decided that there are too many people in Washington trying to destroy it and I’m not going to stand for it,” he said.
In response, he and his wife, Nancy, made their first-ever pilgrimage to the polls. It was only the second time Nancy has ever voted.
“I remember voting when I was about 19 when I went with my mother, but I haven’t since then,” she said. “I was like anyone else. I didn’t like things that were going on in our country, but I just didn’t voice my dissatisfaction in that way, with my vote.”
The couple moved to Florence from their native Indiana last year to be nearer to their son and his family.
They say they won’t let the opportunity to vote slip away again.
“I’m going to vote in every election I can from now on for as long as I have,” Clyde said.
Nancy, who is 80, agrees. “It felt good, like a privilege I have because I’m an American and I’m alive.”
She said she studied her choice of candidates before she voted, and will continue to educate herself for future elections. She will also encourage the younger generation to get out and vote, she said.
Clyde said he knows some people question how he could go all his life without voting, and he’s heard all the cliches about non-voters.
“They say if you don’t vote, you can’t complain,” he said. “Well, I say, I pay taxes and I’ve served this country that I love, and I have a right to voice my opinion. But now, I’ll just be voting, too.”
Republished with permission of The Associated Press.