MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — From a flag raising to a flyover, Minnesota’s military members felt the love Tuesday at the Minnesota State Fair.

It’s the 10th year that the fair has held Military Appreciation Day, honoring veterans and active service members.

Specialist Nirvana Sanchez was part of every Minnesota National Guard activation that happened last year, from the COVID-19 response to civil unrest. She believes it’s good to put a face with the uniform, especially in light of recent events in Afghanistan.

“Always honored to be in the National Guard, especially now more than ever,” Sanchez said. “I think the National Guard has now had a very good reputation in Minnesota. I don’t think a lot of people were aware of what we did. And we were able to perform, you know, again, in a very professional manner.”

(credit: CBS)

Chief Master Sgt. Rick Schumacher is with the National Guard’s 133rd Airlift Wing.

“My dad was in the military so I grew up with the 133rd Airlift Wing,” Schumacher said.

His son is now joining the 133rd as well. Considering what’s happened at home and overseas, he’s as proud as he’s ever been to serve his country.

“We’ve got a lot of people coming up and thanking us … they know [what] we’ve went through the past year and a half, and they’re very appreciative themselves,” he said.

Schumacher has been in the military for 32 years. His 133rd Airlift Wing was the first federally-recognized air guard in the country. It’s celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

John Lauritsen