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Cook County Connections: Honoring our Veterans

Nov 05, 2021 08:20AM ● By Editor

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By Cook County Veteran Services Officer Pat Strand from Cook County MN - November 5, 2021


November 11th we once again celebrate our Veterans and their service to our country.  I would like to share a poem with you titled, It is the Veteran, author unknown.

It is the Veteran, not the preacher,
who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the Veteran, not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Veteran, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Veteran, not the campus organizer,
who has given us freedom to assemble.

It is the Veteran, not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Veteran, not the politician,
who has given us the right to vote.

It is the veteran, who salutes the flag, who serves under the flag, who gave his or her oath to support and defend The Constitution and Our Nation Against all Enemies, Foreign and Domestic and whose coffin is draped by the flag

It is the Veteran, with faith in God and Country, who has given us all our Freedoms!

I want to thank all our Veterans, no matter how small you may think your contribution was, for their service to our country.    No matter what your MOS was you sacrificed your time with family and friends, and you were willing to put your life on the line at any given moment for our country.  Countless Veterans sacrificed their spirit and peace of mind, loss of limbs or use of, their health and their lives.  

A Veteran does not have to be on a battlefield to lose a piece of their life or endure life altering events while in the military.  There are so many sacrifices that have been made and continue to be made by our Veterans in their service to our country that Veterans themselves aren’t aware of unless pointed out to them.  Veterans tend to downplay their military service.  We owe them our gratitude and respect.  Less than one-half of 1 percent of today’s U.S. population is serving in the military.  That is a pretty elite group.  Always stand tall and be proud of the time you served.

Due to COVID-19 the Official State of Minnesota Veterans Day Program will once again be held virtually.  It will be a 30-minute recorded program available starting at 8 a.m. on November 11th on the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs website at  

Cook County High School will have a Veterans Day program with the American Legion Honor Guard participating.  The program will be held at 2 p.m. in the gym.  Due to Covid 19, the school did not have a program last year.  The program was much missed by many!  A special thank you to the school and all participants that make this program possible.  I can’t express how much it is appreciated by our Veterans and their families.  Please attend and be honored!

The American Legion Post 413 and the Women’s Auxiliary will host a free meal for Veterans and their spouses at the Birch Terrace from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.  on Veterans Day.  The free meal is also offered to spouses of deceased Veterans.  The Legion has put a free meal on for many years.  It is another event that was missed very much by our Veterans and spouses.  The meal has always given Veterans in our county a chance to get together and tell “war” stories and reunite with our fellow Veterans.  Gives us all a warm sense of nostalgia.  So, Veterans County wide please come and join us for an excellent Veterans Day Celebration!

The Cook County Veterans Service Office is open to in person meetings.  Please call ahead of time to set up an appointment.  This will ensure that I will be in the office and available to meet with you.  Most all business can be held over the phone, through email or regular mail.  There is also a drop box for mail located by the front door of the Courthouse on the West side of the building.  Masks are still required within the Courthouse. 

If you know of a Veteran who is struggling in some way in their life, please encourage them to talk to their Veteran Service Officer (VSO).  The VSO can also be contacted regarding a struggling Veteran, and the VSO then will reach out to the Veteran.  We are here to help and to connect Veterans with services they are entitled too.  Call your Veteran Service Officer (CVSO), Pat Strand for Cook County at 218-387-3639.  You can also email me at [email protected].  Cook County also has a Tribal Veteran Services Officer, Clarence Everson.  You can contact Clarence (Clinker) at 218-475-2780.  

Once again, a huge thank you to our Veterans for their service and for keeping our country free and safe!  Please make an effort to reach out to any Veteran you may know.  Let them know you appreciate their sacrifice and service to our nation.  Show interest in their in-service experiences.  Let them know what their service means to you. 

“In the aftermath, we are because they were.”  
RJ Heller

County Connections is a column on timely topics and service information from your Cook County government. Cook County – Supporting Community Through Quality Public Service

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