Councilman Jon Wilkins: On Remembering Veterans, Veteran’s Day

by jhwygirl

From Councilman Jon Wilkins:

Y’all know it’s Veteran’s Day tomorrow. And when I think back over my life and what Veterans mean to me, that generally brings tears to my eyes because I remember friends from the Class of ’68, Great Falls High, that don’t have the opportunity to honor Veteran’s Day today. ‘Cause they didn’t make it back.

A couple weeks ago, I left for lunch, on a Wednesday, and I was going over to City Hall…and I found a man, laying in the gutter…and the ambulance came. His buddies were all sitting on the bench, commenting about him. “He’s a combat Veteran with the Force Division.” Well, I happened to be with the Force Division in Vietnam, in the central highlands. And here this poor man is laying in the gutter.

How are we treating our Veterans? I want you to think about that tomorrow. Even our young ones that are coming home and the problems they’re facing…you know, to be in combat, it’s always with you. Some people can handle it – some people can’t. And there’s no disgrace in not being able to handle it. But our government and our city our state needs to do more to help these people out. And it’s appalling to me that a combat Veteran is laying in the gutter in the City of Missoula and has no home and no place to go…and…it just eats at my soul.

And I know myself I probably don’t do as much as I should but I try to do what can. So tomorrow when Veteran’s Day comes around and you see all the American flags in everybody’s yard, stop and think what it really means. Because we wouldn’t be sitting at this table making the decisions that we do on growth and all the other decisions that we make if it wasn’t for those Veterans during WWI, WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and all the little skirmishes in between.

And you know? Per capita for people that we have in Montana, we have more Veterans than any other state that come out of here than any other state. We are truly a patriotic state. Our people do serve and it’s time that we start paying attention to that.

Thank you.

No, Thank YOU, Jon Wilkins. In more ways than one.


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    […] Forrest’s death opened the ugly door to the realities of life that homeless people face amongst our oh-so-civil world. On any given night in Missoula, more than 500 are homeless. A canvas done in 2008 turned up 906 homeless people in Missoula County. Nationally, more than 1 in 4 homeless are military veterans. The VA estimates that 200,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. 400,000 will be homeless during the course of a year. 11% of Montana’s population are military veterans. Is this how we treat the men who sacrifice so much to defend our freedom? Councilman Jon Wilkins spoke eloquently about just this issue on Veteran’s Day last month. If you didn’t see it then, you should read it now. […]




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