Future Forumby Representative Jared Polis
Posted on 2015-05-13
POLIS. I think that is what brings us here tonight. It is what
brings champions of veterans issues like Derek Kilmer and yourself and
Seth Moulton here. This is an opportunity for us to talk about what we
as Democrats want to do to make sure that we honor and support those
who served our country.
I had a wilderness roundtable last week. We had Raul Grijalva in town. He is the ranking member of the Natural Resources Committee. We are working on designating some of our beautiful public lands in Summit and Eagle Counties as wilderness. We were having a meeting in Vail. Come visit Vail. I want everybody to know that Vail is a wonderful place to visit. We had a roundtable.
We had one of the people at it--in addition to hikers, bikers, a lot of local merchants that sell equipment, we had a veteran who served in the Middle East.
He got up, and he said that, when he was serving overseas in Afghanistan and he went to a visual display and they had the national anthem and what they showed--the images on the screen were not our tall buildings, were not our politicians or our actors; it was our beautiful public lands.
It was the Grand Canyon; it was the mountains of Colorado; it was the great coasts of California, and that was what he and his fellow servicemembers drew their pride from.
He further expressed such an excitement about the wilderness bill we were working on. He said the public lands were a place of healing for veterans. He said: If we don't protect these beautiful lands, what the hell did I fight for? It really moved everybody at the entire table just to say, do you know what, that is that part of that American spirit that we derive from the spirit of conservation.
It was really one of those moments where it made me and those of us working on some of those public land issues glad to know that we were helping to heal some of the veterans that had served us under difficult circumstances overseas.