I am angry today having heard about the suicide of veteran advocate Clay Hunt (see the article here). This article was posted by a colleague on Facebook and it struck the same raw nerve that is hit every single time I hear of another veteran or soldier suicide (or worse, a veteran or soldier homicide/suicide).
Here is the comment I left in regard to this article:
This both saddens and sickens me. The enduring effects of war on our vets needs greater attention. The number of veteran suicides is alarming and a testament that the human soul does not bear the weight of combat without a heavy cost. As the mom of a disabled vet and a supporter of all the women and men in the military past and present let me say that the days of sending our soldiers into combat to solve world agendas has to end. Serving your country shouldn’t damage your psyche forever; but, ask any soldier who has served in a combat situation whether they will ever be the same person they were before they served and they cannot tell you they will be. It’s heartbreaking for the soldiers and for their friends and families. We have to start addressing the realities of the cost to veterans in a more comprehensive way. This is just another story amongst thousands of veterans who have committed suicide…when will we decide we have had enough?
These suicides are the greatest injustice of all. Our soldiers who do get to return home, often return home tortured. Where are the necessary systems to help address the wear and tear being in combat places on their souls and their sanity? Statistics show that there is an epidemic of suicides amongst vets – particularly male vets in the 18-29 age range (see CBS News report). Hello!!!! Is anyone listening?? The brave men and women who have served our country continue to be tormented as they cycle back into civilian life – so much so that they see no other alternative other than suicide. We MUST do better than this.
My son Noah is a disabled veteran. He doesn’t like it when I get on my soapbox and speak out against war. But I am not speaking out against war, I am speaking up for veterans and their friends and families. These suicides are unacceptable losses.
I don’t want to hear another stupid argument about what minutia should or shouldn’t be cut in the budget or about what nonsensical thing Charlie Sheen said this week – I want our national attention to be on our veterans before we lose another one. We have a national crisis here that deserves our attention and our resources.
I say today, as forcefully, clearly and loudly as I can muster to all elected representatives in Washington, DC:
MAKE OUR VETERANS A TOP PRIORITY – PARTICULARLY THEIR MENTAL HEALTH AND REINTEGRATION INTO SOCIETY. OTHERWISE MAKE ROOM FOR MY SOAPBOX AND EXPECT TO BE HEARING A LOT MORE FROM ME BECAUSE I AM SICK OF THIS INJUSTICE AND I AM NOT GOING TO LOOK THE OTHER WAY AS VETS DIE – WE HAVE THEIR BLOOD ON OUR HANDS.
Yes, that is correct – I said it – don’t make me come over there to straighten you out. As any of my ex-husbands will gladly tell you – you won’t like it. I expect my government to do right by those men and women who selflessly did right by America…and I expect it today.
Day six hundred and forty-eight of the new forty – obla di obla da