With our nation’s Independence Day upon us, there is a devastating reality out there marring the celebratory reverie typical of this joyous time. Specifically, that we are losing a tragic number of those entrusted with protecting our great country to suicide. According to NPR, a staggering twenty veterans who risked their lives for us are now taking those same lives every day.
The factors behind this cruel irony are many and varied. The causes may be debatable, but the effects are not. Numbers don’t lie.
I served my country as a Navy SEAL but, prior to deploying, looked my own demons in the eye close enough to recognize them in the faces of others who were not as fortunate as I. They came home traumatized, putting on a brave face to mask the inner torment they were experiencing that, ultimately, left them without hope or, in their minds, anything to live for. They’d lost their sense of connection, nothing to replace the camaraderie that dominated their lives when the mission was everything.
They, like me, were serving something bigger than themselves, a greater purpose that defined their self-worth. They felt as if they were in control because the mission before them was always clear, with markers that delineated success and victory, benchmarks they would do anything to achieve. As warriors, they protected the freedoms of this land; have been through blasts, explosions, firefights, and their brains bear the scars even if they managed to emerge with their bodies intact.
The complete story here > A Navy SEAL's 4th of July wish