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Minnesota National Guard
Twins show appreciation for Armed Forces with annual game celebration

The Minnesota Twins hosted their ninth annual Armed Forces Appreciation Day game on Sunday, July 1st. The theme of this year's game was a "salute to women Service members and veterans". A fitting theme with Gov Mark Dayton recent proclamation of "Minnesota Women's Veterans Day" on June 18th.

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More than one hundred women Service members and veterans were involved in the pre-game activities during this first-ever themed event, which honored women Service members and veterans and showed the general public just how much of an impact woman have made in America's armed forces throughout the decades

"I was able to further appreciate women of the military and the service they preformed the women of WWII, Korea, Vietnam, these women not only served their country but also paved the way for my daughter and other women The program was respectful and honored the women of military," said Janice Lambert, mother of Operation New Dawn veteran Sgt Samantha Lambert

During the pre-game a full platoon of women Service members, representing every branch of the military, proudly represented their branch of service on the field Another part of the salute to women Service members was that over 40 women unfurled a giant ceremonial American flag on the field to honor their country and each other

"My favorite part of the pre-game was walking out with the flag in my arms and hearing the cheers of thousands of supporters," said Staff Sgt Rachael Robinson, a member of the Minnesota Air National Guard's 133rd Airlift Wing Maintenance Squadron "To know that each person in the stands was able to recognize women veterans It was a moment I will always remember".

Video: 2012 Minnesota Twins Armed Forces Appreciation Day

There was also representation of women Service members who have served in every major conflict since World War II to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq This saluted included, Minnesota's Women Air Force Service Pilot (WASP), Elizabeth Bridget "Betty Wall" Strohfus She bravely served her nation during WWII as a pilot for aircraft such as the B-17, B-26, P-39 and the AT-6 Other women in this group included veterans from Desert Storm, Desert Shield, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom

"My part in the pre-game activities was the multi-generation group of woman that were announced," said Chief Warrant Officer Jennifer Diamond, Black Hawk pilot of C Company, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment (Air Ambulance) and Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran "It was a great honor to stand next to the other ladies especially the WWII veteran I enjoyed discussing her experience in the military as a female pilot It was such a great honor to be apart of this event."

The Minnesota Twins Armed Forces Appreciation Day was a great day for the military members in attendance and partly educational for those who don't have ties with military members or affiliates to see what kind of impact women have serving in the military

"My part in the pre-game was simply to throw out the first pitch," said Command Sgt Maj Cynthia Kallberg, the Minnesota National Guard senior enlisted advisor "I see that pitch as being symbolic, and the fact that I could do that, as the first female senior enlisted advisor of the Minnesota National Guard, was made possible by each and every previous generation of women veterans who fought, performed, led, sacrificed and served their country so well It is a strong, respected legacy that is the woman veteran."

Since 9/11, more than 6,500 military members have died supporting the Global War on Terror The Twins also took a moment to honor those to have lost their lives during military service The Twins had a special arrangement for the Gold Star Mothers, mothers who have lost a daughter or son while serving in the Armed Forces Four mothers released white doves at each of the bases at Target Field

"I found the releasing of the doves by the Gold Star Mothers to be especially touching as well, for we all understand the service and sacrifice that these mothers have endured," said Kallberg

The pre-game activities also included recognizing the National Association of Black Military Women (NABMW) in attendance at the game and children of military Service members

"I feel very grateful and humbled that the Twins partnered with the Minnesota National Guard to recognize and bring awareness to the critical importance of our women veterans over the years," said Kallberg "This event raised awareness of and respect for the sacrifices of our women veterans Our community, our state, and our country are all better for their service!"

By Staff Sgt Lynette R Hoke
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs
July 1st, 2012
Additional photos.

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