Do you know the name Harry Burn? More importantly, do you know the name Febb Burn?
Despite a higher education and a legal career built from humble but grounded beginnings, I had never heard of Harry Burn – until recently.
I knew nothing of his place in history and nothing of how – by casting a single vote – he forever altered the lives, the education, the careers that my sisters, my mother, my daughter and I have been afforded.
So who was Harry Burn?
Harry T. Burn was the young man – the 24-year old Republican from Mouse Creek, Tennessee – who tipped the scale that finally delivered Women our Right to Vote, a right long fought for by many, many women. To be sure, they laid the groundwork and made his historic vote possible with their decades of dedication and perseverance. On August 18, 1920, Harry Burn cast his single vote.
One Hundred Years Ago.
And Febb Ensminger Burn – she is the mother who prevailed upon her son to vote his conscience, against political pressure, and in favor of ratifying the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
During my career, I have had the great privilege of representing the United States as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of New Jersey. When I became an AUSA on July 1, 2002, I swore an Oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” My heart swells with pride when I think of that day and of the work that I was privileged to do on behalf of the United States during my 12 years at the DOJ. I still consider, and will always consider, supporting and defending the Constitution as my charge.
When I swore that Oath – 18 years ago – the Constitution already recognized my right to vote. But what if it hadn’t? What if Harry Burn’s vote had not been cast or had been cast the other way? What if the heart and mind of one man had not been moved? What if one woman, one mother, had not counseled her son to ignore political pressure and do what he believed was right? Where would we be today – One Hundred Years Later?
Last Sunday marked One Hundred Days until the next Presidential Election.
Where will we be One Hundred Days from now?
Never underestimate the Power of a Single Voice or the Power of a Single Vote.
Whether you Vote Your Conscience, Vote with Your Party, or Vote from Your Heart – Come November: Cast Your Vote.