Photo Credit: Minnesota National Guard.
Providing military funerals is one way we show our gratitude to those who, in times of war and peace, have faithfully defended our country. This year, Governor Mark Dayton and the legislature provided new funding for the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs’ funeral honor guard.
In recent years, funding for the honor guard has wavered. In 2011, the guard wasn’t funded and was only continued by shifting resources from other Veterans Affairs’ resources. Veterans regularly cite the funeral honor guard as one of the top benefits of military service making continued support for this program all the more essential.
Currently, Minnesota is home to roughly 400,000 veterans; many of whom are getting older. In fact, most Korean and World War II veterans already are over 70 years-old. The sheer number of veterans and the aging of Minnesota’s population made securing funding for Minnesota’s honor guard critical. Our aging heroes deserve that dignity the honor guard provides and continued access to the benefits they earned serving our country.
Continued funding of the funeral honor guard program will help us to better remember and celebrate the lives of our veterans. As President Kennedy once explained, a nation reveals itself not only by the men and women it produces, but also by those it honors, those it remembers.