At a Vets Town Hall, veterans of any era who served in any capacity are invited to stand before their community and speak for up to ten minutes about what it was like to serve their country. Non-veterans are encouraged to attend and listen. These events are non-political, and all perspectives are valued. There will be no debate on American foreign policy. We will simply listen and learn about what it was like to serve in the wars that this nation has chosen to fight.

If you’d like to organize a Vets Town Hall in your hometown, support and resources are available. Please contact Kristen at vermont@vetstownhall.org to find out more.

Jon Turner speaking at the 2022 Vets Town Hall in Colchester. Photo courtesy of Megan Humphrey.

For non-veterans (and all attendees)

All community members are invited. Only veterans will speak, but non-veterans are encouraged to attend and listen.

Throughout the event, you may hear something you agree or disagree with. You may have a question. Or you may want to say encouraging words with the intention to help. However, we ask that you please refrain from responding. We are simply here to listen and learn about what it was like to serve in the wars that this nation has chosen to fight.

Curious about how you can help? Find out more here!

For speakers

Tell us what your service means to you. Please tell us about your own experiences, whatever they may be, rather than speaking broadly about an issue or organization. You’re a member of our community, and it’s your stories, reflections, and insights that we’re anxious to hear. If you’re interested in speaking but aren’t sure what to speak about, click here for some questions that can serve as starting points.

Each veteran will be given up to 10 minutes to speak. Veterans who would like to speak can mark that preference when registering on eventbrite. If you’re considering speaking but prefer not to register, we encourage you to attend. After pre-registered speakers go, the host will take speakers from the floor, time permitting. The goal is for every veteran who would like to speak to have a chance to do so.

Of course, veterans (and all community members) are also welcome to simply attend and listen.

Thank you

To all the veterans who spoke, and to all the veteran and non-veteran attendees who came to listen. To our hosts, Jon Turner, Kyle Aines, and Marty McMahon. To our venue sponsors, Community College of Vermont, Northern Vermont University Student Veterans Association, and Saint Michael’s College Military Community Services and Student Veterans Association. To Vermont Veterans Outreach Program for being available to offer peer support, to the local businesses contributing to our snack table, including Cabot Creamery Co-operative, Chapin Orchard, Dakin Farm, Garuka Bars, and Krin’s Bakery. And to the many other individuals and organizations who have offered advice and assistance.

David Carlson speaking at the June 2021 Vets Town Hall in Middlesex, VT. Photo courtesy of Amos Eaton.

Vets Town Halls were originated by author Sebastian Junger (War, Tribe) with the aim of increasing communication and understanding between veterans and civilians in their communities. The first event of this kind in Vermont was held in November 2017 in Burlington.

If you’d like to learn more, check out the FAQ page and browse through the press coverage for previous events. If you’re interested in starting an event in your hometown or are looking to attend in another state, information and resources are available here. These events are only possible thanks to a generous amount of help and good advice:  Find out some ways to get involved on the volunteer page. Please also don’t hesitate to get in touch with Kristen at vermont@vetstownhall.org with any questions or suggestions.