U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, DFL-Minneapolis, visited Litchfield Monday, paying tribute to those who gave their lives for our nation's liberty.
"What a great day it is," Klobuchar said during her Memorial Day visit to the Litchfield VFW post 2818, where she gave a short presentation and conversed with veterans, veteran service organization representatives and city representatives, including some from Litchfield and St. Cloud.
In her remarks, Klobuchar underscored the importance of honoring our nation’s fallen heroes by fighting for today’s veterans and service members. Her appearance in Litchfield was attended by about 40 people.
Klobuchar presented a U.S. flag, which has been flown over the U.S. capitol, to Meeker County Veterans Service Officer Don Dufner, along with two certificates of authenticity. The flag, she said, recognizes his dedication and continued service.
"Don, thank you so much for your incredible service," Klobuchar said.
Dufner said he was humbled by the presentation and by the attendance. "I really appreciate you coming out here," he told Klobuchar.
Dufner has served as the county's Veterans Service Officer since December 2012. He served in the Air Force from 1982 until his retirement in July 2012, ending his service as a Chief Master Sergeant.
"This is the best job in the world," Dufner said. He finds reward in interacting with veterans and their families and in witnessing the positive impacts of their programs and services. "Let's roll on for many years."
Earlier in the day, Klobuchar joined Minnesota veterans and their families at a Memorial Day ceremony in Fort Snelling National Cemetery in St. Paul and at a Memorial Day ceremony in Chanhassen. She also visited the American Legion in Buffalo.
With 2017 marking the 100th anniversary of the American military entering WWI, Klobuchar said there were conversations about the sacrifices and services of those who served throughout the day.
"Today is a lot about telling stories, including passing them on to younger people," Klobuchar said of the importance of teaching them about the historic war in which nearly 5 million Americans entered service.
Klobuchar also met several Vietnam veterans and told of a trip to Vietnam she took with U.S. Sen. John McCain.
Memorial Day, Klobuchar said, is about more than honoring fallen veterans but men and women in uniform who have carried on their courage. Their selfless service, she added, drives the fight to ensure veterans are being taken care of and have access to needed services, including quality, affordable healthcare.
While Minnesotans may be divided in other areas, the military continues to bring people together and has the support of the state, Klobuchar said.
Klobuchar was the first woman elected to represent the State of Minnesota in the U.S. Senate and is currently serving her second term.
Litchfield Mayor Keith Johnson thanked Klobuchar for taking the time to visit Litchfield on an important holiday. "We really appreciate how much you're out in the trenches and how hard you work," he said.