Veterans Town Hall creates space for listening and learning

Published: Sep. 19, 2021 at 8:24 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 19, 2021 at 11:41 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - It takes courage to speak, it takes courage to listen. That’s the motto at the Vets Town Hall, which was hosted in Burlington Sunday afternoon.

It’s the fourth and final event of its kind in Vermont this summer. At a town hall, all veterans are invited to share their experiences serving our country. The goal is to reconnect servicemen and women with their community and initiate constructive conversations without judgment.

“As servicemen and women, we’re taught to compartmentalize a lot of our emotion in order to complete the task, to carry on with the mission, and unfortunately that’s a habit that continues into the civilian sector and once we’re out of service,” said Jon Turner, the town hall host and a veteran. “I think that a lot of times family members don’t understand that. We’ve had folks come up afterward and say, ‘I understand my dad more now,’ or, ‘I understand my mom more now.’”

Bridging the gap between civilians and veterans is what this event is all about. It’s also a space for veterans to reflect on how their time in the service changed their lives.

“It’s an experience that really I think gave me a lot of discipline and self-awareness that I needed at the time, so that experience was very transformative,” said veteran Thomas Anderson.

These town halls have been taking place in Vermont since 2017.

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