Sharing their stories at Vermont Vets Town Hall in Colchester

Published: Nov. 7, 2022 at 12:25 AM EST
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COLCHESTER, Vt. (WCAX) - On Sunday in Colchester, veterans were invited to share their stories and civilians were invited to listen.

“It’s really remarkable. Everyone has their own relationship to their time in uniform time in service. And with these events, there’s veterans of all generations that come out to talk about that, and there’s always a common thread,” said Jon Turner, a veteran and the event host.

It was all a part of the Vermont Vets Town Hall, where veterans of any era who served in any capacity get the chance to stand before their community and speak for up to 10 minutes about what it was like to serve their country, good or bad.

“The manual doesn’t prepare you for what you’re going to see these weapons of war do to human beings... More guys that have taken their life than were killed in the entire invasion,” said Scott Wood, an Army veteran.

These events are nonpolitical and all perspectives are valued and welcomed. This is the fifth year that the vets town hall events have been hosted in Vermont. The goal is to increase communication and understanding between veterans and civilians in their communities

“I’m so deeply grateful for having the opportunity to be with my brothers and sisters in the room. These are the things that bring us together. These are the things that break down the barriers,” said Mark Hughes, an Army veteran.

Event hosts say that giving veterans the chance to speak out is extremely important because it provides military members a chance to express themselves and process their emotions in a safe and accepting environment.

“I think the veteran reintegration process has been lacking in a lot of respects. And so any opportunity there is for us to get the veteran community together to kind of reintegrate appropriately by sharing our story with the community is pretty important,” said Turner.

Organizers say they hope to continue finding new ways to bridge the gap and help veterans reintegrate into their communities.