I will take “Veterans Day” if you prefer. I think in America, we have rounded a corner. There was a time in America (at least so I am told) that veterans were not treated with much respect. I think, for a while now, the general culture has been pro-vet. As a veteran, I am appreciative of the of the many thank you’s. While those are appreciated, I am respectfully asking you to put those aside for a minute and dig a little deeper. America, we have a problem with veterans killing themselves.
Let me go out on a limb a bit and state something that I have yet to see anywhere else. Most veterans are not killing themselves related to combat related trauma. Don’t get me wrong; that is a real thing and we should address that specifically as well. However, the majority of veterans did not serve in combat related fields, and of the ones that did many never saw combat. Yet, they take their lives at a higher rate than the general population.
Their lives matter too. And just as the life of the non-combat veteran matters as much as the one who saw combat, so too the life of the non-veteran matters just as much as the veteran: All Lives Truly Matter. I did not serve to create a class system in America made of those who served and those who did not.
The silver-bullet solution to this problem is to realize there is no silver-bullet. There is no substitute for giving a darn. The issues related to veteran’s suicides and suicides in general are multi-factorial and are partly symptoms of a greater culture that is ailing.
A stop gap measure is call the suicidepreventionlifeline at 1-800-273-8255. It would be better to talk to someone you already know but if you can’t then do call call that number.
Most people do not become suicidal overnight. It is a process. That is why I am requesting you dear reader to ask someone how he or she is doing this Armistice Day/Veterans Day. Really ask and it does not have to be a veteran but a veteran works too. That might be harder than “thank you” but it might be more fruitful as well.
(Editor’s note: The image at the top comes from War History Online. Specifically a post with a series of colorized WWI pictures. Really neat stuff)