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Witness Testimony of Lucinda Barth, Sergeant, MN Army National Guard Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operations Enduring Freedom

Thank you for this opportunity to testify on behalf of Veterans from the surrounding area. I take great pride in representing them here today as I testify in front of the Veterans Affairs Subcommittee.

My name is Lucinda Barth.  I am a Sergeant in the Minnesota National Guard and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.  I am also a service connected disabled veteran.

It is approximately 140 miles to the Veterans Affairs national cemetery located at Fort Snelling in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The state veterans’ cemetery located in Little Falls, Minnesota is 236 miles.  These cemeteries are a great distance to travel for a veteran that would like to be interred in a Veterans’ cemetery.  Not to mention the inconvenience a loved one would have to endure to visit the site of their loved one.   I believe that if the Department of Veterans Affairs would approve the grant for this cemetery here in Fillmore County that the surrounding veterans and their families will want their loved ones memorialized at that cemetery. 

The number of veterans in the Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin area that this cemetery would serve is well over 43,000 veterans; each and every one of these veterans deserve to have the right to choose to be interred in veteran cemetery within a reasonable distance from their loved ones. This cemetery will give those veterans and their families the opportunity they didn’t think was possible before.

I have traveled the world and seen some beautiful places; none of it compares to the beauty that we have right here in Fillmore County, in Preston.  It’s not only beautiful but it’s serene; I believe that this is an ideal location for a cemetery where we want our veterans’ families to feel that their loved one is at peace.   

I have been told on several occasions that it takes a special kind of person to join the Armed Forces to fight for this country.  Whether they were told to join during the Vietnam era or joined when it became an all volunteer military; we are all still that special kind of person.  Preston would provide that special final resting place that those veterans so honorably deserve to have.    

I strongly encourage for you to go back to Washington D.C and vote in favor for Fillmore County to be the final resting place for so many veterans in the surrounding area.  They deserve to have a place that will bring them and their families the peace that they need after the lost of a dear loved one.  I know that Preston can bring that peace to so many families. 

Again thank you for this wonderful opportunity to voice my opinion on this matter.