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GUEST COLUMN: Telling the story of veterans

The VFW has a long history of helping veterans who served in our nation’s wars. It was founded because veterans returning from the wars were injured, destitute and needed help. We have done a great job over the years of helping our veterans. We have many programs to help current military personnel, our living veterans and their families.  

The thing we don’t have is an ongoing program for educating non-veterans about our deceased veteran’s sacrifices. We recognize our deceased members with burial rituals and programs on Veterans Day and Memorial Day, but what about the rest of the year? What we are missing is a program that not only recognizes the sacrifices our veterans made for our freedom but educates non-veterans at the same time. Because of this, I chose the Veterans Educational Historic Project in Little Falls as my commander’s project.

What we haven’t done well is educate non-veterans about what a veteran is, what they gave up, who they are and why they are the way they are; but most of all, why every American should care and learn about them. The Veterans Educational Historic Project is to educate Americans about American Veterans, while at the same time showing respect to our comrades that have passed on. Respect for our deceased veterans cannot be over-emphasized and the staff at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery does an excellent job, but to inform future generations of Veteran’s history maybe even more important.

The project and the artistic representations of the accomplishments of our veterans will be depicted in a manner that will show our children, grandchildren and all future generations just what being a veteran of the United States military means. It will show what was sacrificed and given up by them to protect all our freedoms.

The Veterans Educational Historic Project will be located in the Committal Hall at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery located north of Little Falls. It will consist of five 8-foot by 10-foot oil canvas paintings depicting the history and traditions of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and the Coast Guard/Merchant Marine. This is a statewide project not only by the VFW but also other veteran and non-veteran community organizations. I ask your support for this remarkable project which is the first in the nation and is being looked at as an example of how we can educate the nation while memorializing all our veterans in a proper and respectful manner.

DON DALLMAN of Cambridge is the 2010-2011 state commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars and is a member of VFW Post 806.