Stories of Minnesota Veterans


Veterans Day Magazine 2021

Veterans Day Magazine 2019

Veterans Day Magazine 2018

One way to honor our veterans and better understand them is to hear their stories. Here, we share a few of the many stories from our Minnesota veterans. Through these stories, we get a first-hand look at the life of servicemembers, what was asked of them, and what they gave.

Roy O. Perley
While serving on the Western Front at the end of World War I, Private Roy O. Perley kept a diary of his experiences. Click the link above to read his diary and letters he sent to his family back home in Dodge Center, MN.

Sergeant John W. Ahern
During World War II, Sergeant John W. Ahern of the 453nd Bomb Group was killed during action. Click the link above to read an article detailing his story.

Harold Thomas Tierney
Harold Thomas Tierney, Radio Technician 3rd Class went missing in action while serving in World War II. Click the link above to read his letters home along with letters from the Navy Department to his family, informing them that Tierney was missing and detailing the circumstances of his disappearance.

Freedom Isn’t Free

I watched the flag pass by one day
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young marine saluted it.
And then, he stood at ease.

I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud;
With hair cut square and eyes alert,
He’d stand out in any crowd.

I thought how many men like him
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mother’s tears?

How many pilot’s planes shot down?
How many died at sea?
How many foxholes were soldier’s graves?
No, freedom is not free.

I heard the sound of taps one night
When everything was still.
I listened to the bugler play,
And felt a sudden chill.

I wondered just how many times,
That taps had meant “amen”
When a flag had covered a coffin,
Of a brother or a friend.

I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers and sons, and husbands
With interrupted lives.

I thought about a graveyard,
At the bottom of the sea,
Of unmarked graves at Arlington,
No, freedom is not free.

– ROTC Cadet, Major Kelly Strong, Homestead Senior High School