The following quote from Dwight D. Eisenhower is an important reminder that freedom is not free. Rather, it is something that the United States has to earn every day. “Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed – else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die” ~President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Living in the United States, away from overseas conflicts, it can be easy to forget the efforts to keep our country safe. Brave Americans put their lives on the line to keep our country safe and that cannot go unrecognized.
Do not let this Veterans Day pass without showing your gratitude for every man and woman that has served, and is currently serving in the military. In honor of our veterans and country, please support our troops.
Many patriotic groups work hard to assist 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://www.vfw.state.mn.us/programstohelpminnesotasoldiers.pdf.
There will be many area events and I encourage you to participate. Among the activities:
November 11- Guardian Angels Catholic Church is hosting an old fashioned potluck from 6 – 9pm in O’Neill Hall to honor our men and women who are currently serving and our veterans. Ted Bearth and Bill Rasmussen will speak about the Oakdale Veteran’s Memorial, “Our Vision for Remembrance.” Bring your favorite dish to share with others. All are invited.
November 12 – The Knights of Columbus Council #4374 is having a Turkey Bingo, Saturday at Transfiguration Catholic Church, from 5:00 to 9:00pm. Join others in the Mount Tabor Hall for family fun, food and a chance to win turkeys and cash prizes. The church is located at 6133 – 15th Street North in Oakdale. One block east from Century on 15th.
Additionally, AmericInn of White Bear Lake is organizing an event on Veterans Day to make packages to send to soldiers overseas, or families stateside. They are looking for donations for their packages – cash to help with shipping costs, or items to be put into the packages. Donations can be dropped off at any time before 11-11-11 at AmericInn, 4675 White Bear Parkway, White Bear Lake. Contacts are Carey Diethelm or Nancy Slag.
Many of our area schools will also have special programs honoring our veterans.
As your state senator, I try to do everything I can to help and honor our veterans. During the 2011 Legislative Session, several veteran related bills were debated and passed, including:
· Approved $738,000 for a new 21-bed Alzheimer’s unit at the Fergus Falls Veterans Home
· Approved $162,000 for a new Adult Day Care at the Minneapolis Veterans Home
· Approved $551,000 to support operational needs at the state’s 5 veterans homes
Veterans’ higher education support
· Approved $945,000 for the veterans’ Higher Education Assistance Program and removed the June 30, 2012, sunset date for the program, making it a permanent fixture in Minnesota.
· Approved $200,000 to administer the Minnesota GI Bill program, which also helps veterans access higher education
· Approved $3 million for additional enlistment incentives, including the Tuition Reimbursement Program.
Other veterans support
· Approved $706,000 for grants to the Disabled American Veterans, Military Order of the Purple Heart, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Vietnam Veterans of America, AMVETS, and Paralyzed Veterans of America.
For those of you that have served, or are currently serving in the military, I thank you. We cannot show enough gratitude for the work you are doing.
As always, please contact me with questions or suggestions regarding any issue. Please visit my Senate website at senate.mn/senatorwiger. I also 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.