MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesotans are honoring and remembering a man who deeply loved his country. Governor Mark Dayton has ordered all state and federal flags in Minnesota at half-staff today in memory of Colonel Leo Thorsness.

Thorsness died last year, but would have celebrated another birthday today. He was a fighter pilot during the Vietnam War.

He was awarded for protecting parachuting crewmembers by shooting down numerous enemy planes, despite being critically low on fuel.

Days after that heroic act, his plane was shot down and Thorsness became a POW.

Prior to his death, he was the only living medal of honor recipient in Minnesota, and told us in 2016 how it’s a heavy one to wear.

Thorsness would have turned 86 today.

Dayton ordered flags at half-staff from sunrise until sunset in honor of the Colonel.

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