Klobuchar presented Legion’s Distinguished Public Service Award
Photo by HIlary Ott/The American Legion

Klobuchar presented Legion’s Distinguished Public Service Award

After receiving The American Legion Distinguished Public Service Award on Feb. 26 during the Legion’s annual Washington Conference in the nation’s capital, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., mentioned someone who might be watching the presentation.

“It is such an honor to receive this award,” Klobuchar said. “My dad served during the Korean War, and I know he’s up looking down with pride right now.”

The Minnesota senator was presented the award for being "a champion of important legislation that The American Legion has prioritized year after year, and she has tirelessly worked to improve our national security."

She also was cited for dedicating “countless hours to bolstering our national security, improving military quality of life, and caring for our country’s veterans. Your vigilant efforts to protect our United States Armed Forces and our allies across the globe have been critical to ensuring that the honor of the United States military is upheld.”

Klobuchar said whenever she meets with U.S. military personnel, she’s reminded that, “When we send them overseas, we make a promise. A promise of how we’re going to treat them when they’re there, with the equipment, with what they need. But also, how we’re going to treat them when they come back.”

That’s why, she said, passage of the PACT Act was so important. “It wasn’t just, as you know, about recent conflicts,” she said. “It was also about those exposed to Agent Orange. It very important to us that those vets got covered, because that promise way back when wasn’t kept. And it was our duty to continue that work and to make sure it was kept.”

Klobuchar also spoke on the importance of working to ensure those Afghans who served as allies to U.S. troops during the war in Afghanistan aren’t forgotten.

“They put their lives on the line. Many of them lost their lives,” she said. “Their families’ lives are still on the line if they’re still over there in Afghanistan. We must keep our covenant with our heroes. They bled Afghanistan. They live in limbo in the U.S. now. They live here, literally, with a trap door underneath of them. They have to apply and reapply just to stay here, without any clear path to citizenship.

“They deserve that permanent residency, followed by what is called the gold standard of vetting. I’ve so appreciated The American Legion leadership (on this issue). I cannot tell you how critical it’s been with my colleagues.”

Klobuchar closed her remarks by remembering her final visit with Sen. John McCain before he passed away in 2018. “He opened one of his books, and he pointed to this line,” she said. “And this was the last thing he basically said to me by pointing to the line: ‘Nothing is more liberating than to fight for a cause larger than yourself.’ That, to me, is what service to our country is all about. And it is embodied by all of you.”