A look at veterans in Minnesota

There are 369,149 veterans living in Minnesota.
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The 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. That's when fighting between the Allied Nations and German forces stopped, signaling the near-end of World War I.

Nov. 11 is now celebrated as Veterans Day – a day President Woodrow Wilson described in 1919 as a time to “be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory …”

A veterans ceremony and free community breakfast was held Friday morning at the Memorial Community Center in Inver Grove Heights. A number of officials and politicians were there, including Gov. Mark Dayton, Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, Rep. Tom Emmer, and more.

Veterans in Minnesota

There are 369,149 veterans living in Minnesota, a Department of Veterans Affairs 2015 report says.

Of those, 92 percent are white; 3 percent are black, 2 percent are Hispanic/Latino, and Asian, American Indian, and other make up 1 percent each.

The majority (about 140,000) live in four Twin Cities counties – Hennepin, Ramsey, Dakota, Anoka. The fifth most populous county for veterans is St. Louis County, with 18,789.

About 68 percent of Minnesota's veterans are over the age of 55, and most of them served during the Vietnam era. But more than 30,000 are under the age of 35.

Nearly 48,000 (about 13 percent) served in the Middle East after 9/11.

Many face serious homelessness, though the numbers are improving. Since 2010, the number of homeless veterans in Minnesota has dropped by 57 percent, a Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs news release says.

President Barack Obama, speaking at Arlington National Cemetery Friday, said it's up to U.S. citizens to advocate and speak up for veterans.

"They don't always go around telling stories of their heroism, so it's up to us to ask and to listen, to tell those stories for them and to live in our own lives the values for which they were prepared to give theirs," he said. "It's up to us to make sure they always get the care that they need."

Veterans who need help can contact group such as the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans, which has a 24/7 help line, as well as links to other resources. The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs has options for help as well.

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