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Warrior to Citizen: Stories of Minnesota's Most Recent Veterans

"Warrior to Citizen: Stories of Minnesota's Most Recent Veterans" is a multimedia exhibit featuring personal stories and artifacts gathered from 30 service members who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The exhibit grew out of the Warrior to Citizen Campaign with contributions from many volunteers. Lt. Col. Tim Kamenar of the Minnesota National Guard played an instrumental role in the development of the project and reflects below on its importance.

Kamenar.jpgLt. Col. Tim Kamenar spoke at the opening of the oral history exhibit. Beginning in February, the exhibit will travel to communities across the state.

Minnesota recently celebrated its sesquicentennial, marking 150 years of statehood. We can be proud that our state has produced men and women who’ve made a mark on the nation, become home to influential purveyors of the arts, and evolved into a center of global influence in the areas of health, science, education, and business.

We can also be proud that for 152 years Minnesotans have stepped forward to protect our state and our nation in times of peace and in war. Seminal events in our nation’s history are traced directly to the men and women who have served on active duty and in the reserve components. Today, thousands of Minnesotans are quietly creating history, engaging in acts of personal courage and selflessness. They exhibit incredible honor to our nation and to each other, and show respect for those ideals most of us only talk about. Yet we don’t know this, and we certainly don’t know them.

The Warrior to Citizen oral history project aims to capture the contemporary stories of men and women who are serving our nation, to redress our forgetfulness, and to move beyond the sound bite to allow them to portray the true sense of their experience. Warrior to Citizen: Stories of Minnesota’s Most Recent Veterans strives to honor their sacrifice by capturing their stories and preserving them for posterity so that we may learn and understand.

These women and men, active and reserve of all services, Minnesotans one and all, deserve their place in history. Their stories must be told.

Lt. Col. Tim Kamenar

Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs