On Sunday at 1 p.m., a special town hall event for veterans and members of the community will take place at Contois Auditorium in Burlington’s City Hall. Inspired by author Sebastian Junger, the event aims to establish a greater understanding between local veterans and the friends and neighbors for whom they fought.
In the tradition of warrior storytelling, veterans are invited to describe the emotions war presented them from pride to grief to rage, or quiet appreciation of life. Veterans are invited to share what their service means to them through a story, summary of service, message, letter home, excerpt from a war journal, or even the story behind a photograph. Non-veterans are invited to attend, to listen, and to learn.
In a June 2015 Vanity Fair article, Sebastian Junger highlighted the challenges of post-traumatic stress among veterans. He suggested “making every town and city hall in the country available to veterans who want to speak publicly about the war.” He believed holding these community forums would “return the experience of war to our entire nation, rather than just leaving it to the people who fought.”
All perspectives are valued and important, added Junger. “This event is not about ‘patriotism’ or ‘activism,’ it is about sharing powerful and important experiences with the community.”
This is the first event of this kind to take place in Vermont, organized by a variety of veterans’ groups and agencies that support veterans. John Tracy of U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy’s office will host.
Seating is first come, first served. Online event information and reservations is at btvvetstownhall.eventbrite.com. Veterans who would like to speak can note that on their registration. For more information, email to firstname.lastname@example.org.