Just A Day

by jhwygirl

Four years ago today, Missoula found out that Forrest Clayton Salcido had been stomped to what would be his death on the frozen ground of the south side of the California Street bridge the previous evening, right here in Missoula Montana.

We’ve written about Forrest a number of times over the years. You can read of his story from the posts that link takes you to.

In tribute to Forrest, I am going to post (for a third time, actually) Councilperson Jon Wilkins’ words that offered for Veteran’s Day back in 2008. I transcribed Jon’s words from that taped council meeting. Jon spoke these words from the heart – and not from notes.

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.

Forrest Clayton Salcido’s murderers are serving their time, as are the families of all affected in one way or another. It’s a sorry sordid pile that still sits there for many.

Homeless does, of course, go on. There will always be homelessness – in Forrest’s case, it really was a choice he made because of something in him or that happened to him that made his choices that which they were.

Homelessness is hear to stay. A high percentage of homeless are tied to military and their service in war. Makes you wonder the causal circumstance of the homeless in general.

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  1. John Fletcher

    “In tribute to Forrest, I am going to post (for a third time, actually) Councilperson Jon Wilkins’ words that offered for Veteran’s Day back in 2008. I transcribed Jon’s words from that taped council meeting. Jon spoke these words from the heart – and not from notes.”

    So this is the third iteration of your notion that Salcido and Wilkins served in “the Force Division” while deployed in the Central Highlands? It never occurred to you that this sounded a bit weird or StarWars-ish…and a perception-check was in order?

    [Hint: Try “4th Infantry Division”!]

  2. Nic Wilkins

    Yes, my father served in the 4th Infantry Division.




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