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LETTER: Listen to living veterans and their stories

To the editor:

Last Monday on a warm day, I greeted 90 Minnesota veterans at the World War II Memorial on the National Mall. Many of them have never visited the memorial before. Many have never seen the Pavilion Pillar honoring their Minnesota friends who never returned home. Many have never seen the Field of Stars, a display representing more than 400,000 U.S. soldiers who gave their lives during World War II in defense of our nation.

This is one memorial of many throughout our country that stands in remembrance of our fallen heroes. Our aging veterans are particularly special because they are living storytellers of friends they served alongside. These stories are passed down to sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters, preserving the memories of past American soldiers who fought in conflicts all over the world. It is never too late to pay respect their memory deserves.

To continue in these efforts, I am grateful to announce that my office has been accepted as a Commemorative Partner of the Vietnam War 50th Commemoration. This partnership allows me to award Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pins to veterans who served on active duty from 1955 to 1975 and to family members of deceased veterans during special ceremonies across Minnesota.

I hope you will join me in remembering those who lost their lives to protect freedoms we enjoy today. We can all help fulfill our debt to fallen soldiers by listening to living veterans and their stories. As the 90 World War II veterans began leaving the memorial, they will certainly have another story to tell back home. We should use this opportunity to honor all our veterans wherever we can, however we can — from community parades to family kitchen tables.

U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson

Detroit Lakes, MN

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