Want to thank a veteran? Then remember to vote in November.
That's the message of a new campaign this week from the veterans' advocacy organization Got Your 6, designed to encourage more civic involvement in national and local politics.
"We don't care who people vote for, we just want them more engaged," said Bill Rausch, an Iraq War veteran and executive director for the group. "When more people engage, it helps us better tackle issues for all Americans, like income inequality, health care and racial problems."
The new campaign features a public service announcement starring actors Rob Riggle, David Eigenberg and J.W. Cortes, all of whom served in the military.
"One of the reasons I served was so that people had the freedom to go vote," Riggle, a retired Marine Corps Reserve lieutenant colonel says in the message. "You got the freedom. Go vote."
A Pew Research Center report earlier this year ranked the United States 27th among 35 developed democracies in voter participation rates, with little more than half of Americans casting ballots in the most recent presidential election. Israel, Sweden and South Korea all boasted rates of more than 75 percent participation in their most recent equivalent elections.
Rausch said he has seen an outpouring of interest in helping troops and veterans in the wake of the recent wars, beyond the gratitude civilians often give on holidays and at homecomings.
Got Your 6 has pushed local leaders to look to veterans as enthusiastic resources and encouraged all Americans to learn more about their experiences. But Rausch said smaller steps -- like exercising the right to vote -- also play a role in better integrating veterans into their communities.
Earlier this year, the group launched a new voter registration effort which also sends reminders to users about upcoming election deadlines and locations.
The video was produced with the media company ATTN. The presidential election is scheduled for Nov. 8, three days before the national Veterans Day remembrance. Follow @LeoShane
Leo Shane III covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.