Powerful Gathering of Warriors in Bozeman, “The Enemy Gets a Vote”
20 years ago I was glued to the TV. Today, 20 years after the 9-11 terror attacks, I didn't even want to turn on the TV or the radio news. To be honest, I'm so disgusted with the politics of division in this country and the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, that I didn't even want to hear from some of these politicians today.
I gotta say thank you to everyone who showed up for Warrior Taste Fest in Bozeman Friday night. It was an incredible event featuring some local distilleries, breweries, artists, and chefs- and they raised a lot of money for Warriors & Quiet Waters.
Somewhere between the Willie's Distillery booth and the Brigade booth, I had to pause for just a moment and realize how blessed we were to be in a room with so many incredible people. I got choked up thinking about how much sacrifice was borne just by the people in this room alone- the veterans, the spouses, the moms, the dads, the kids.
As I scanned the room, I saw green berets, Navy SEALs, CIA veterans, firefighters, police officers, a US Marshal- and I talked with the mother of a Montana National Guard veteran who was teary eyed as she explained how the withdrawal from Afghanistan is impacting her.
I'll have to see if there is recorded audio of the speeches given by wounded warrior Saul Martinez, a retired Army Sergeant who was wounded in Iraq and now works full time for the Montana-based Warriors & Quiet Waters, and retired Marine Colonel Brian Gilman- the WQW CEO. They both delivered speeches that, frankly, our entire nation needed to hear.
Martinez talked about being just a high school kid on 9-11. In the photo above, you can see Col. Gilman as he talked about where he was on 9-11 and the sacrifices that have been borne by so many since.
I wish I was taking notes, but like the rest of the room- I was too busy taking it in. But as Colonel Gilman spoke, it felt as though the Gallatin County Fairgrounds had been converted into an airplane hangar, and we were getting our pre-mission brief.
He made it clear: just because we packed up and came home, doesn't mean the war is over- "the enemy gets a vote." Our mission to care for our veterans and warriors with visible and invisible wounds isn't over either.
NEVER FORGET: Images from 9/11 and the days after