|Photo credit: Stephanie Morris|
On a warm fall day, I visited the war memorials on the Minnesota State Capitol Mall. It was a calm and peaceful area, and I couldn’t believe it was surrounded by busy highways and a constant flow of traffic. As a Minnesota military spouse, I’d often been to the neighboring Veterans’ Service Building but I, like many, had never visited these wonderful monuments.
As I began my tour, I felt honored to walk among all these memorials--to feel part of the lives of so many Minnesota Veterans, both living and deceased. Their choices and sacrifices have helped keep our state and our nation safe.
To begin my tour, I spent time in the Court of Honor, reading the names of the numerous conflicts and the specific groups of Minnesota soldiers who fought in them. Although certain wars have a dedicated memorial, this ode to the larger Veteran experience truly summed up the huge impact the military has had on Minnesota soldiers and their families.
As I continued my walk, I felt surprised and proud to enter into the Minnesota Military Family Tribute. So often in times of war, the focus is solely on the soldiers and the impact the conflicts have on them, and yet the effect that wars and numerous deployments have on parents, spouses, children, and a soldier’s entire support system is profound.
While walking between the stones etched with letters to and from Minnesota family members and their soldiers, I felt a wave of emotion overtake me. The words in the letters were so personal yet I was able to relate to so many of them. It didn’t matter if they were written last year or 50 years ago; the sense of longing, love, and the desire for normalcy in the midst of difficult times rang true.
I could have spent an entire afternoon wandering through theses stones, reading the letters. But instead, I decided to continue my walk through the State Capitol Mall and relish in the pride and honor I felt being a military spouse in a state with such a strong and rich military history.