Minnesota Veteran - October

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Desk of the Commissioner - October

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Providing a final resting place closer to home

One of the highest honors we at the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) are privileged to be part of is interring Veterans to their final resting place. It is the final opportunity to pay respects to Veterans who selflessly served our nation. And as our State Veterans Cemetery leaders have said: “We only get one opportunity to get it right; and we do.”

I recently had the opportunity to participate in the groundbreaking event for our fourth State Veterans Cemetery to be built in Redwood Falls. Despite a rainy and windy day, the Redwood Falls community turned out in force to demonstrate their support for this long-awaited project. After a decade of advocacy, everyone in attendance was so grateful to see this plan start to become reality.

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Redwood Falls Cemetery Dedication

redwood falls cemetery

On October 13, 2021, dignitaries, special guests and members of the community attended a groundbreaking ceremony for what will become the fourth Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery. Even in the middle of a fall rainstorm, nearly 200 guests united in Redwood Falls to celebrate the beginning of building out an 81-acre site to serve as a final resting place for Veterans and their families in southwestern Minnesota.

This project has been more than a decade in the making. According to MDVA Commissioner Larry Herke, the goal is to provide a cemetery option closer to home for Veterans living in southwestern Minnesota. Currently, the closest Veterans Cemetery (Ft. Snelling), is more than 100 miles away.

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3rd Annual Minnesota Veteran Suicide Prevention and Awareness Day

Oct. 2 event

The Minnesota Veteran Suicide Prevention and Awareness Day event was held Oct. 2, 2021 in Wilson Park in St. Cloud, MN. Event speakers and performers included St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis who shared his personal connection to Veteran suicide, MDVA Commissioner Larry Herke, VA Chaplain Michael Gruber, Vocalist Tori Pearce – National Anthem, Bugler Corporal Kyle Kitzman - 34th Infantry Division Red Bull Band, Laura Kunstleben - Community Engagement and Partnership Coordinator - St. Cloud VA Healthcare System and James Pool – singer/songwriter of “Save Yourself.” Watch the livestream of the event.

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Veterans Day Virtual Program 2021

The Official State of Minnesota Veterans Day Program will be held virtually again this year. A 30-minute recorded program will be available starting at 8 a.m. on Veterans Day, Thursday, November 11 on the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) website at MinnesotaVeteran.org. MDVA invites all Minnesotans to celebrate and honor all Veterans who have served our state and country.

“Although we are not gathering in person, the importance of recognizing Minnesota’s Veterans for their service, sacrifice and resilience has not diminished,” said MDVA Commissioner Larry Herke. “We encourage all Minnesotans to take a moment to thank the Veterans in their lives for the freedoms we all enjoy.”