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Desk of the Commissioner - July

Posted on July 14, 2014 at 1:30 PM
Tags: Commissioner, Families

Commissioner ShellitoI recently had the privilege of being a speaker at the inaugural dedication of what is to become the Minnesota Military Family Tribute (MMFT). This tribute is the brainchild of Bill and Teri Popp, strong supporters of Veterans in the State of Minnesota. Most people in the metro area know of Bill through his strong support of the Minnesota Military Family Foundation. His emphasis on the military, specifically the deployed service member and the needs of their family, have been a priority for him since the war on terror began.


The Family Tribute is the next major project and will be located on the Capitol grounds here in St. Paul. The design consists of walkways, trees, and spots to reflect on the service of Minnesotans. The intent centers on a common phrase “when you deploy a service member, you also deploy their family.”

I strongly believe, and have witnessed, that when a parent sends their young son or daughter off to war, they are placed in a new realm of emotions – even though everything will seem the same. Should the parent be watching television and the nightly news begins talking about what has happened in the war zone you can be assured their attention will be focused on the who, what, when and where – praying that their son or daughter is not involved. There will be that constant fear in the back of one’s mind when a loved one is deployed into harm’s way.

One of my personal goals for the Tribute is the development of materials that can be given to people who visit the Capitol grounds and tour the Veteran Memorials. The study guides would help make Minnesotans more aware of the sacrifices Minnesotans have made in the past. Just recently I heard a news commentator ask the question, “Do today’s younger generations really understand the origin and meaning of the 4th of July?” At first I didn’t know how to react to that question. But we all seemingly know that many of the holidays that honor the sacrifices of earlier generations are treated as holidays, a day off, with little effort to meet the intent of the day. Interestingly enough, that same commentator felt that more attention was being given to the US soccer team than to the sacrifices of our Veterans.

I will give ongoing updates on the progress being made with this tribute and hope that all of you will have the opportunity to see the beauty that it will bring to the Capitol grounds, not only in the spring with an abundance of fresh new flowers, but also with the beauty of the trees fall colors. The MMFT will use natural beauty to pay honor to the sacrifice of our service members and their families, both past and present.

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