“This will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave,” – Elmer Davis
This quote from dedicated WWII-era journalist Elmer Davis gets at the heart of why freedom – and those willing to fight for it, are so important. America was built on the concept of freedom and that spirit continues to inspire all of us, and is one of the few things that brings us together. Veterans Day and the days surrounding it present a good opportunity to think about what it means to be an American, and to thank the millions of men and women who have served and sacrificed for our country.
Sometimes we can forget the daily sacrifices being made by our military personnel and their families. Brave Americans put their lives on the line every day to keep our country safe, and that cannot go unrecognized. Communities across America celebrate Veterans Day with parades, ceremonies, acts of goodwill and stories about what it means to fight for America. I encourage everyone this week to show your gratitude to every man and woman that has served, and is currently serving in the military. In honor of our veterans, please support our troops.
One way you can show your appreciation is by supporting the North St. Paul Veteran’s Memorial Park. This is a project that has been in the works for several years and just this spring was awarded $100,000 in state bonding to help begin construction. The project aims at honoring the region’s heroes and design plans include creating a beautiful public space to give tribute to veterans and their loved ones. The project will also include engraved paver stones honoring all U.S. Veterans who provided honorable military service. This will be a wonderful asset to our community and I’m so grateful Rep. Leon Lillie and I could advocate for this project in the state legislature. Construction is set to begin on the park this spring.
Many Minnesota communities have paid tribute to our veterans by erecting parks and memorials. Oakdale is one of these places that have created a beautiful and fitting tribute to veterans and their families. I encourage everyone to seek out these places in the coming weeks and spend a few moments reflecting on veterans’ service to our country.
Along with giving thanks to our veterans, I would also like to say thank you to the many patriotic groups that offer assistance to our veterans and families. For example:
- Beyond the Yellow Ribbon: The Minnesota National Guard has pioneered a program in hopes of changing how soldiers are reintegrated back to their communities. Called “Beyond the Yellow Ribbon”, the program is named as a reminder that the support of soldiers cannot end when they return from deployment and the yellow ribbons are untied. Many of our area communities and businesses now participate in this program. Go to the Minnesota National Guard’s Beyond the Yellow Ribbon website for more information, http://www.minnesotanationalguard.org/btyr/
- The Minnesota VFW, Minnesota American Legion and their respective auxiliaries encourage everyone to support veterans and the families of the troops. We are thankful for the Family Support centers that have been set up for each Guard and Reserves branch. You can find contact information at this website: http://mn.gov/vfw/
As always, please contact me with questions or suggestions regarding any issue. I encourage you to visit me at the Capitol, or let me know if you’d like me to stop by your home or apartment. Also, please tune in to my local cable TV show, “Your Capitol: What’s Up?,” which appears on public access channels 15 and 16. I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by phone at 651-296-6820.