Minnesota veterans honored at special state program (Coon Rapids ECM)

ECM Capitol reporter



With a band playing national airs, a flash of stripes as the honor guard presented the colors, several hundred military veterans and state officials gathered in Inver Grove Heights this morning (Wednesday, Nov. 11) on Veterans Day to honor those who serve in uniform.


Gov. Tim Pawlenty, U.S. senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar, and other officials spoke in the Veterans Memorial Community Center armory in Inver Grove Heights in a Veterans Day celebration. SEE SLIDESHOW


About 2,200 Minnesota National Guard troops are currently deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.


“I will tell you it is going magnificently,” said Minnesota Adjutant General Larry Shellito of operations in Iraq.


Pays respect to strong sense of duty


Pawlenty spoke of the valor, self-sacrifice, and strong sense of duty exhibited by those who have served and are serving in the military.


“The title of veteran deserves great respect in our country,” he said. “They are role models. They are heroes,” he said.


Speaking later in the armory entrance to reporters, Pawlenty said his administration will be presented a veterans’ initiative this coming legisaltive session.


“We’re always looking for the next step for improving the laws relating to veterans,” he said.


One area they’re exploring, he said, is whether veterans educational benefits can apply to their children.


Providing service dogs to veterans


Franken spoke of his legislation pertaining to providing service dogs to disabled veterans.


He just wants to see dogs all over the place with veterans, he said.


Fourth District Congresswoman Betty McCollum spoke of the “wounds we can’t see” affecting veterans.