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Editorial: Veterans deserve military honors

When soldiers join the U.S. military, they do so with an expectation of their community and their country. This expectation includes a military honor guard at their funeral.

In recent years, funding from the state and federal governments for military honor guards has been reduced. And in 2009 the state funding was eliminated.

So just as veteran funeral demands are increasing, military honor guards have been declining.

The Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported this week that there will be about 4,800 Minnesota veterans who will want military honor guards this year. That is up about 400 from the previous year and will grow.

The number of military funerals is expected to only increase in the coming years as the state's demographics change. The average age of World War II vets is over 80 and Korean War vets is over 70. Many of the approximately 140,000 Vietnam-era veterans are over 60.

Military personnel are proud of their service and many now like a military honor guard at their funeral.

Whether the individual is a young veteran of the Gulf, Iraq or Afghanistan wars or a 90-year-old veteran of World War II, he or she deserve their community's respect, including a military honor guard.

The state is now working to standardize the procedure for a military honor guard. Gov. Mark Dayton is supporting that effort with a $400,000 commitment in his Veterans Affairs budget request to provide stable funding for the state's military honor guards.

The Legislature should fund this budget request as it meets our state's commitment to each one of our veterans.