by Rep. Bob Barrett
The selfless service of American armed forces — the ultimate giving of oneself, whether it be through lifelong service or the ultimate sacrifice — is a commitment worthy of our gratitude. I hope you will join me this Veterans Day in a quiet moment of thanks and remembrance for the men and women who make it possible for us to live in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.
These service men and women are not just soldiers; they are heroes, and their families, who support them in their mission, are also deserving of our deepest gratitude.
Minnesota is a state known for its commitment to military service and support of those who serve. Our state is home to nearly 370,000 veterans and tens of thousands of guard, reserve and active troops.
These brave souls endure extreme hardships in their efforts to protect the freedoms we hold dear. As a result, some bear physical, visible scars; others carry invisible scars. Let’s take the time to honor them.
Because of their sacrifices and service to country, veterans are eligible for county, federal and state resources, programs and benefits, such as education, employment, health/disability and burial assistance.
The primary source of contact for all veterans benefits and services is the County Veterans Service Office (VSO).
Make a Difference: How to get involved
Our area is fortunate to have active American Legion and VFW posts. If you or a loved one serve or have served in the armed forces, please contact one of the local chapters to get involved.
Several volunteer opportunities exist to help veterans through the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service. Visit www.volunteer.va.gov or call 202-461-7300 for more information.
Feel like saying thanks?
Veteran Dick Glasgow of Lakeland, Minn. founded Dear American Hero, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free ‘thank you’ cards that folks can hand out to service men and women and their families. You can request cards at http://blogdearamericanhero.com or call 651-472-4390.
Stay informed by listening to Minnesota Military Radio. Vietnam veteran and volunteer host Tom Lyons can be heard Sunday mornings at 7:00 a.m. on Twins Cities News Talk AM 1130 or online anytime at http://minnesotamilitaryradiohour.com.
USS Minnesota: State pride runs deep on the high seas
In September, the fast-attack submarine USS Minnesota entered service. It is the most advanced warship in the U.S. Navy.
The 377-foot submarine is capable of submerged speeds of more than 25 knots (30 miles per hour) and can stay submerged for up to three months at a time. It was built for increased firepower, maneuverability and stealth.
Several Minnesotans attended the commissioning ceremony. The sub’s crew was proud and enthusiastic to have so much support from the ship’s home state; it helped fuel their pride, confidence and purpose of mission.
You can view the Minnesota delegation’s behind-the-scenes experience online at http://ussminnesotacommissioningtour.tumblr.com.
Again, I send my deepest gratitude to the men and women who serve and have served our country, and to their families who support them along the journey.