Greg Thingvold keynotes Veterans Day program in FL
Twelve years. For that long, Americans have been leaving their families and neighbors to serve the country through operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Like the brave souls who fought in past wars across the world, many have made the ultimate sacrifice in recent years as well, Col. Greg Thingvold reminded the audience at the community Veterans Day program at the Forest Lake American Legion on Monday.
More than 90 service members from Minnesota have died in a Middle East combat zone since 9/11, said Thingvold, the director of plans operations and training for the Joint Force Headquarters of the Minnesota National Guard.
“Each loss is a reminder of how very personal these 12 years have been for our military family and our Minnesota family,” he said. “Certainly, we will not let the sacrifices of our fallen service members be forgotten.”
Ways to pay homage to this sacrifice are easy and plentiful, the Stillwater resident said.
Vote. Teach children to respect the colors, the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem. Hire military members. Spend time with veterans. For those who are veterans, share experiences.
Thingvold, the son of longtime Forest Lake residents Daryle and Suzette Thingvold, lauded the community for starting a Beyond the Yellow Ribbon chapter. The biggest challenge for the young organization lies ahead, he said, as the number of deployments drops.
“We will have more service members come back to the state of Minnesota and call this home,” he said. “The needs of those families and service members will go on for years. So that’s really the challenge: to sustain.”
Thingvold, however, will be headed in the opposite direction. He served in Iraq from 2007-2008 and expects to be deployed again in 2014.