MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Today, we honor the all the men and women who have served in the United States Armed forces.

Veteran’s day was celebrated by thousands across the state, and hundreds packed into the Veterans Memorial Community Center in Inver Grove Heights.

“Veteran’s Day is a triumph for all those who have served and kept us free and continue to do so today,” Brig. General Jon Jensen said.

Minnesotans gathered in the community center to salute the men and women who served our country. It’s a day of tribute, reflection and celebration.

From politicians to career service members, the speeches reflected a feeling of gratitude not only for those who served but for the families that held down the homestead while they were away.

But it was the children, who had the room’s attention. Their speeches acknowledging the sacrifice of all who served was enough to move some veterans to tears.

“Bringing the kids in was a great idea,” Vietnam veteran Terry Marshall said. “It was a fabulous idea to get them started, having them be aware of where this country has been and appreciation for the sacrifices a lot of us made.”

Marshall says it Veterans Day was not always about big banners, balloons and bands.

“When we came back, it wasn’t this way, and it’s a rewarding feeling to have this sort of a day, ”Marshall said.

A day where more than 120,000 Minnesotans showed how much they appreciate Veterans.

“I think that was an honor,” 91-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor Richard Thill said, looking at WCCO’s “More than Names” flag at the community center. “I think this is a wonderful thing. I can’t believe it. I’ve been watching it on TV. This is amazing. I can’t believe it.”

Thill sees the flag, signed by so many, as proof that his service and that of others is not taken for granted.

“It shows they care,” he said.

Minnesota officials are showing their care by pushing to end veteran homelessness by the end of the year.

Landlords are invited to meet with the mayors of St. Paul and Minneapolis Wednesday at 6 p.m. to address the need, and hopefully help by renting to a veteran.

For more information on the ceremony, or the Veteran Memorial Community Center, click here.

Reg Chapman

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