Updated: November 11, 2021 10:28 PM
Created: November 11, 2021 05:58 PM
Veterans Day events in Blaine and Edina on Thursday honored members of the military from World War II to Afghanistan. One tribute even honored a dozen Afghan interpreters who worked with U.S. troops.
"It was good to see the Rotary Club took the time to invite them and have them here when they truly have, many of them have, sacrificed everything in order to be interpreters for the United States," said Josh Guyse, a U.S. Army veteran and Bronze Star winner who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Guyse was the keynote speaker at an Edina Rotary Veterans Day luncheon.
Guyse says the interpreters helped the U.S. military a great deal in a land where the culture and language was unknown to most Americans. He says they also served bravely and at great personal risk to themselves and their families.
"They would have their faces covered because not only were they endangered on missions, but they were in danger when they were off-mission when home visiting their families or their families were in danger of disappearing," Guyse said.
We can't show the faces or reveal the names of any of the interpreters because they all still have family living in Afghanistan. One interpreter we talked to told us how proud he was of the work he did for the U.S. military.
"We showed the world that we are a people that love democracy, freedom and security and that's why we supported the U.S. mission over there," he told 5 Eyewitness News at a luncheon at Edina Country Club. He was honored that his group received a standing ovation for their work. "It's a special day. We received a special welcome and also a lot of respect."
Meanwhile, military veterans received a heroes welcome at Blaine High School. They honored all branches of the military and heard from Iraq War veteran Mike Mills who was severely wounded by a roadside bomb in Tikrit, Iraq, in 2005.
The students were also introduced to 99-year old Navy veteran Lois Widmark who served as a "Code Breaker," helping break Japanese codes and helping save U.S. Naval warships from attack. She was joined by 101-year-old Stan Nelson, also a U.S. Navy veteran who took part in the Normandy invasion at Omaha Beach.
To top things off, several Blaine High School students who are joining the military took the ceremonial "Oath of Enlistment" with their fellow students looking on.
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