Valerie Barber presented a Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin from Minnesota Governor Walz
By Joe Morey
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov Peggy Flanagan presented Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pins to Valerie Barber (USMC) and Sandy Whitehawk, White Earth tribal member, (accepted by Rusty Barber) for their service.
Walz said in 2008 it was the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War and the National Defense Authorization Act allowed for recognition of the 58,220 killed, hundreds wounded and millions who served our nation in a time of war.
“Recognition was given to all of those veterans and over the years there were some who were missed and not presented those awards, Sergeant Valerie Barber will receive her pin,” Walz said.
Walz went on, “The Vietnam War, we know the legacy, the things I saw myself as a veteran and one who served on the veteran’s committee, Vietnam Veterans of America. There one-line motto is never will one generation of American warriors forget another generation of American warriors and what they brought back and how they changed how this nation viewed separating the warrior from the war and the obligation and understanding that we will not leave anybody behind on the battlefield and this country will not leave behind any of our warriors in recognition. So, we’re here today to present long overdue recognition of service during this conflict to Sergeant Barber and Sandy Whitehawk.”
In accepting Whitehawk’s pin, Rusty Barber said, “I was asked to receive this prestigious pin and to all of our veterans, men and women who have served both foreign and domestic, it’s a great honor and I’d like to thank the governor and lt. governor for bestowing this honor upon her.”
Valerie Barber said, “We women who served during Vietnam, if we did not go to Vietnam we weren’t combat veterans and so a lot of us never talked about our service because in the back of our minds we always felt we weren’t as good as, however through the years and especially through this recognition, when you sign your life away for your country, and that is as good as. Thank you very much for this, I appreciate it.”
Photo from Mpls. Star Tribune video of Gov. Walz, Valerie Barber and Rusty Barber