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Why Has Something Preventable Become Such A Large Issue Among Veterans?

“We Are Like a Firehouse. When the Need Arises, This Place is as Serious as a Heart Attack.”

Men and women all over the United States come home from their tours of duty haunted by the traumatic memories of their wartime experiences.

More often than not, our brave men and women return without the proper support systems to help them through these struggles. The PTSD, and events that occur in their lives because of it, can lead to unhealthy decisions, destructive behavior, and worst of all, acts of suicide.

This video is a short trailer for a new documentary dealing with the frightening reality of active duty and veteran suicides.

This is an issue that every segment of society has a stake in. All of us must take up the challenge of becoming engaged in finding solutions for this issue. We owe it to those who have suffered and given so much on our behalf.

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The statistics are really mind-boggling. They seem inconceivable, but they are real. It is estimated that every day an average of 22 veterans are committing suicide. This is a problem of tragic proportions.

Something must be done.

When I say that every level of society needs to be engaged, I am talking about the responsibility of Congress, the Department of Defense, the military branches, the VA, and society in general. Congress has an obligation to provide the necessary funding. The DOD, the military branches and the VA have a moral obligation to provide the care and the services to all who have served, and especially to those who have endured both physical and psychological injuries that come with combat action.

They need to develop programs that better identify and serve our active duty service personnel and veterans who show signs of depression. They need to develop programs that engage and support the families of these service-members and veterans so that they can be active and effective partners in the healing processes of their troops.

Via Sgt. Ned Johnson and Navy Medecine

Via Sgt. Ned Johnson and Navy Medicine

We The People must do our part too.

These men and women have served us all. They have volunteered to undertake the dangerous duties and have done what they were called upon to do. They have done everything necessary to protect each and every one of us from those who wish to do us harm. They have done so with nobility, with character, with great dedication, skill and courage. We owe them.

They deserve the best care and attention that we can provide them while they are still on active duty and when they become veterans. These suicide rates are a source of national shame and we must not be blind to them.

The DOD, the Military Services, and the VA have an obligation to provide the care that our military and veteran populations have earned with their blood, sweat and tears. The entire nation owes them this.

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.