U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., says the government resources dedicated to helping veterans need to match the words of appreciation being shared on Veterans Day.

Klobuchar was among the speakers Wednesday at the state’s official Veterans Day program in Inver Grove Heights. Several hundred people attended the event.

Klobuchar told the crowd she was pleased with recent budget action in Washington but that more work is needed to improve health care and job opportunities for veterans.

“Our veterans, whether they served on the beaches of Normandy, the jungles of Vietnam, the hills of Korea, the mountains or Afghanistan or the sands of Iraq, they deserve so much more than they have ever asked for,” Klobuchar said. “They deserve these balloons. They deserve this beautiful banner. But most of all, they deserve our thanks.”

Brig. Gen. Jon Jensen, chief of staff of the Minnesota National Guard, reflected on the evolution of Veterans Day from its solemn origin

“In many ways Veterans Day has become less quiet and more grand,” Jensen said. “It’s become part reflection and part celebration, and that is appropriate.”

Klobuchar was only elected-official to participate in their year’s program. Gov. Mark Dayton was originally scheduled to speak, but he was unable to attend.

Staffers read letters from Sen. Al Franken and U.S. Rep. John Kline.

Thalia Blevins and Joseph Stanton,  fifth grade students at Pine Bend Elementary School, read from their Veterans Day essays.

“Thank you for serving our country and protecting the United States of America,” Blevins said. “I don’t have to worry when I walking down the streets or sleep at night because I know you will be or have been there protecting us.”