For some who’ve never served it may be difficult to understand the sorrow in a veteran’s heart. Why those who decide to commit suicide end up going through with it.
It can be for many reasons, reasons we may never understand, however the pain is real. Very real.
It can be most difficult coping with horrific images seen overseas. They may be too proud to tell anyone the struggles they endured.
Also, military life is simply different. You are broken down in basic training only to quickly be built back up again to work as a team. You become a new person, someone who accepts orders, who punishes both mind and body to endure the worst of circumstances…..in order to prepare for an unseen battle.
Soldiers are placed in harms way, volunteering for some of the worst assignments imaginable.
People join the military for a variety of reasons. Some for college, others for money (though it isn’t a lot) and of course for love of God and country. Others join to escape financial hardship, maybe there’s simply no jobs available in their area. Some escape abusive home environments, others want a better life for themselves, and their families.
And those of us lucky to make it through a tour or have completed our service, return once again to civilian life—–and trust me….it can be a hard fit. Once before where our rank meant something, where shared hardships were common….we are expected to assimilate back into a life which perhaps for some of us, tried to escape from…..or we are no longer the person we once were.
We miss the companionship of other soldiers. And when we do find someone who served, it’s like a bee to a flower. We come together and share stories…laughing about some of those very hardships….reminiscing of times gone by. There are many many reasons why veterans kill themselves. And with such staggering numbers. With roughly 22 a day ending their lives. A tragic statistic. (source
Veterans belong to a unique fraternity of brother and sisterhood. Something quite honorable to me.
Eulogy for a Veteran
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the Gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the mornings hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight,
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there, I did not die.
By: Ed Coet, Major, USA-Retired