With Tuesday’s midterm election signaling the closing chapter to Senator Patrick Leahy’s service to the Green Mountain State, he stopped by the city where his contributions to veterans all started.
On Friday, Burlington’s Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter brought those that have served – along with the most senior member of Vermont’s congressional delegation – to Burlington’s Battery Park. There they celebrated soldiers’ contributions to their country.
Reverend Mark Hughes, the commander of Burlington’s VFW chapter, says Veterans Day is a unique opportunity to celebrate soldiers that are still living.
“Today, we honor the living,” he said. “We honor those that have made different types of sacrifices.”
Robert Colby, Post 782’s senior vice commander, is a Vietnam veteran.
He says he relishes the time he has with his fellow soldiers.
“It’s an honor to serve with a lot of them that I have served with,” Colby said. “If I had to, I would do it again.”
Senator and chairman of the senate appropriations committee, Patrick Leahy, has championed countless funding efforts to aid veterans – including burn pit victims, and those affected by post-traumatic stress disorder. He also helped create Vermont’s first veterans center in 1979, in the Queen City.
His last task in the nation’s capital is to work on next year’s national budget, and Leahy – the father of a marine – made one promise to those in attendance.
“I guarantee you this, the things that reflect what we owe our veterans, those who have suffered…as chairman of that committee, that money is going to be in there,” Leahy said.
And the senior vice commander says he appreciates the continued congressional support.
“That means a lot to us for them to show the support for us,” Colby said. “Our delegation has done a lot for veterans in this state.”
But Leahy said more work needs to be done in the coming years to help veterans in need.
“We’ve had different threats, agent orange to burn pits and there are still things that aren’t being handled…it needs to be a constant,” the longtime senator said.
Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger also spoke at the event, thanking all those in the queen city that have served their country.