Showing posts with label Mother's Day. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mother's Day. Show all posts

Monday, May 9, 2016

Spartan Alliance and Disabled American Veterans Get Pledge From Veterans To Seek Help

Veterans pledge to seek help before suicide
Washington Post
By Susan Svrluga
May 8, 2016

On Sunday, Col. Matt Pawlikowski, a chaplain from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, led a Mothers’ Day service at the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial near the Mall honoring women whose children are serving or have died. The ceremony closed with the pledge.
At the Mall, veterans touch a sword and pledge to reach out to military buddies if they start to have thoughts of suicide. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)
A couple of years after he left the U.S. Marine Corps, Lyndon Villone kept trying to reach a close friend who had served with him in Iraq. When he didn’t hear back,Villone thought maybe it was best to give him some space.

His friend shot himself in the head.

Within a year, Villone had lost two more Marine Corps brothers to suicide.

And he was beginning to think about it himself.

This weekend, a coalition of nonprofits led a “Spartan Weekend” for hundreds of sick and injured veterans centered on a promise: They would not take their own life without reaching out to someone for help. And they would take that oath with their hands on a sword hammer-forged of steel salvaged from the remains of the World Trade Center.

By one estimate, an average of 22 veterans take their own lives each day. Some people debate that number from the Department of Veterans Affairs, said Steve Danyluk, who worked with wounded service members after returning from a tour in Iraq with the Marines, “but I think anybody that served in a combat unit can run through a list of people that they know that committed suicide.”

And everyone says the same thing when they hear about a suicide, said Danny Prince, a retired New York City firefighter who often visited Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to thank service members: “’I can’t believe it — I would’ve done something.’ ”

That is why Danyluk helped organize the event for the Spartan Alliance and Disabled American Veterans. “You don’t have to be suicidal to take the pledge,” he said. “It’s finding a mission: Help your buddy. It’s reconnecting, reestablishing those relationships that seem to vanish once you leave the military.”
read more here

Linked from Stars and Stripes

This is the report you have to read if you really want to know what the claim of "22 a day" is all about and it is far more than 22. Here is the link to the VA Suicide Report. Read at least to page 15.

Camp Lejeune Marine Spent Mother's Day Grieving For Mom, Savannah's 22 Homicide Victim of 2016

Family, neighbors mourn loss of Savannah mother of 2 shot, killed on Ash Street
Savannah Morning News
Will Peebles
May 8, 2016

Tyler Schmidt traveled from Camp Lejeune, N.C., to Savannah on Sunday. As an active-duty Marine, Schmidt’s work schedule would have prevented him from having time to visit Savannah for Mother’s Day, but he was granted leave given the grave circumstances.
Kathy Henry and her son Tyler Schmidt fish from a boat in coastal Savannah.
(Photo courtesy Richard Schmidt)
Sunday was a solemn Mother’s Day for Tyler Schmidt, the son of a 43-year-old Savannah woman who was found shot and lying in the street Saturday night — the latest victim of gun violence in the city.

“She’s a loving person,” said Tyler’s father, Richard Schmidt, about his ex-wife, Kathy Henry. Police found Henry about 8:45 p.m. on Ash Street, according to Eunicia Baker, police spokeswoman, only a few blocks from her father’s home.

Henry was taken to Memorial University Medical Center, where she died, Baker said.

“She’s never hurt anyone intentionally,” Richard Schmidt said. “If it was over money, she would’ve given them money. She would’ve given them anything they asked for. We’re still numb and in shock that something like this could happen.”

Henry’s death is the 22nd homicide in Savannah in 2016 — nearly twice the number of killings recorded by this time last year. She was shot and killed on the same day of the funeral of Hannah Brown, a mother of five, who died April 28.
read more here

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Military Moms Mother's Day Deployments

On Mother’s Day, deployed soldier-moms deal with separation from children in Texas
Killeen Daily Herald
David A Bryant
Herald Staff Writer
May 8, 2016

Even for longtime veterans such as Staff Sgt. Deidre McPherson, the signal and communications noncommissioned officer in charge for the brigade’s 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, it can be rough. She has missed five Mother’s Days due to deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and rotations to different European locations.
CAMP CASEY, South Korea — Mother’s Day is a time we set aside thoughts of ourselves and focus on that very important person in our lives who brought us into the world. People across Central Texas will fill the restaurants in the area today while taking their mothers out for a special meal, or might be cooking and doing chores they normally would not do and finding other ways to say “thank You” to the woman who gave them life.

But not all of those mothers can be home for a special day of pampering, and for 193 moms, today will be spent thousands of miles away from their children while they serve in uniform with the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, in South Korea.

For the women who chose to serve their nation first by joining the U.S. Army, Mother’s Day is another reminder of the many things they have given up to defend their fellow Americans. For some of the newest members of the Army, however, it is one of many important days in their children’s lives they have missed — and more than once.
read more here

Rep. Gwen Graham makes surprise Mother’s Day visit to Afghanistan
Tallahassee Democrat
Special to the Democrat
May 5, 2016
Fla. Rep. Gwen Graham visiting mothers and others serving in the armed forces and women in Afghanistan.
(Photo: Special to the Democrat)
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Gwen Graham, D-Tallahassee, joined a bipartisan congressional delegation visit to Afghanistan to meet with deployed mothers in uniform and Afghan women fighting for equal rights and working to rebuild their country.

“It’s difficult for anyone in our military to leave their family and serve overseas – and it can be especially hard on mothers serving in warzones,” Rep. Graham said. “It was an honor for me to meet with these brave mothers serving in Afghanistan. They deserve our respect, admiration and support.”

The congressional delegation hosted a Mother’s Day luncheon where they discussed the challenges faced by deployed mothers and they delivered handmade Mother’s Day cards to troops. In addition to meeting United States Military moms, Rep. Graham also met with women serving in the Afghan Armed Forces and with Rula Ghani, the first lady of Afghanistan.
read more here

Four children at home, Mom deploys to Afghanistan
Des Moines Register
Kim Norvell
May 6, 2016

Every day after school, Jessica Hoenicke and her four kids work on homework around the kitchen table.

They practice multiplication and the alphabet. Her two oldest compete to see who can solve math flashcards the fastest. The younger ones read out loud.

This week there's been less focus on work and more on play. They've been going to the park and riding their bikes. Anything the family of six can do together.

On Mother's Day, Sgt. Hoenicke will deploy with her Iowa Army National Guard unit to Afghanistan. She'll be gone for a year. That's 365 days without reading, writing and arithmetic around the table; 365 days without bus drop offs and pick ups.
read more here

Too Many Moms Visit Graves After Suicide For Mother's Day

How Many More Grieving Moms Will Be Too Many?
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
May 8, 2016

All over the country, women are waking up to "Happy Mother's Day" and remembering their children they lost to suicide. So many haunting questions remain even though they may never know the answers, they need to know why their sons and daughters made the choice to end their lives. It is usually harder on Moms because they were the ones who could make it all better, take care of illnesses and injuries, comfort an aching heart, encourage after disappointment, give support to seek dreams coming true as well as punishment when the "kid" did something wrong so they would grow up to be a better person.

So many of the children raised to care about others so much they were willing to die for them could not find a single reason to live one more day upon this earth and left their Moms. We read about some almost everyday but all over the country too many Moms, Dads, Sisters, Brothers, Wives and Husbands along with children, suffer in silence as if they were responsible for the suicide. Sometimes that grief causes action so that someone else may be spared from the same loss. Sometimes that grief causes anger to be turned inward so deeply anything positive seems like an insult to the veteran they buried. Other times the loss is just too much to carry. It happened in Texas last year.
Alexandre Quiros, an academically decorated Air Force Academy cadet, stabbed himself to death, the El Paso County Coroner's Office announced Wednesday. His mother, Ksenia Quiros, ingested deadly levels of antihistamine and hiked into remote open space to kill herself 13 days later.
Some of you may be thinking that Alexandre was one of the "22 a day" lost to suicide but you're wrong. He would have been one of the 475 suicides within the military last year.

USA Today reported the number of suicides for 2015 showed that while the number of enlisted decreased, almost a decade of "prevention efforts" had little effect on the sons and daughters willing to die for someone else.
The Pentagon reported Friday that 265 active-duty servicemembers killed themselves last year, continuing a trend of unusually high suicide rates that have plagued the U.S. military for at least seven years.

Data released Friday also show that suicides among reserve troops — reservists in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps and the National Guard — were 210 last year.
As with all military members, he would not have been counted among the often misquoted number of veterans committing suicide. The DOD does not have to track those they failed while in the military. That is up to the Department of Veterans Affairs. The DOD gets to wash their hands as if they had absolutely nothing to do with the loss. No one has asked them to explain anything that happens to veterans and as far as the currently serving losses, leaders are not held accountable by Congress. Hearings have proven to be useless displays of Senators and Representatives attempting to portray themselves as being on top of all of this. CSPAN has covered these hearings but apparently what members of Congress have been hearing has been good enough for them because they keep funding failures.

This is from the report that every seems all too willing to talk about but few bothered to read the report.
Of the 147,763 suicides reported in 21 states, 27,062 (18.3%) were identified as having history of U.S. military service on death certificates. However, Veteran status was unknown or not reported for more than 23% (n=34,027) of all suicides during the project period. Without linking to VA or DoD resources to validate history of U.S. military service, it is necessary to remove those without information on history of military service from estimates of Veteran status among suicide decedents. Among cases where history of U.S. military service was reported, Veterans comprised approximately 22.2% of all suicides reported during the project period. If this prevalence estimate is assumed to be constant across all U.S. states, an estimated 22 Veterans will have died from suicide each day in the calendar year 2010. Last month the Department of Veterans Affairs released another suicide report but the press didn't seem to be too interested in it. After all, it was a lot more appealing to them to use "22 a day" from a simple line in the 2012 report taken from limited data of just 21 states up to 2010.

This is from the new study.
Nearly 14 percent of Veterans reported suicidal thinking at one or both phases of a two-year VA study.

The study, now online, is slated for publication in the June 2016 issue of the Journal of Affective Disorders.
That would fit with some other research showing that a greater proportion of Veterans experience suicidal thinking—as well as attempts, and deaths by suicide—relative to the general population. One oft-cited VA study found that Veterans, while making up only about 13 percent of U.S. adults, account for about 22 percent of suicides. Another study, from 2007, found that compared to civilians, Veterans were twice as likely to die by suicide.
But for Moms, these same veterans survived risking their lives for others and as Moms visit their graves they wonder why no one did anything after all these years that actually saved the lives of their children. How many more deadly decades do we need before someone changes the ending of far too many stories?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tommy Yancy, OEF-OIF Veteran Beaten by Police Caught on Video Died

May 18, 2014
Tommy Yancy, 32, father of two, was savagely beaten to death by five law enforcement officers during a routine traffic stop near the city of Imperial last Sunday, on Mother's Day. Yancy, a veteran who suffered from PTSD, served in Afghanistan and Iraq in the 259th Field Service Unit following the 9/11 attacks.

Yancy was stopped on his way to the store after a highway patrol officer spotted a missing front license plate on his vehicle. He was subsequently pulled from his car and attacked by a police K-9 unit, hit by a taser, and attacked by five officers until he succumbed to the beating and died. A witnessed, who filmed the incident, can be heard screaming on the recording: "How long before you guys call an ambulance? Call an ambulance!" According to the source of the video, who asked not to be named, his family has not been permitted to see his body, nor have they been given a cause of death.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day Visiting Over 8,000 Graves After Veteran Suicides

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
May 11, 2014

Mother's Day is the day we get to be pampered for a change. One day a year when we get served breakfast or taken out for dinner. Our one day of rest if we are lucky. We spent the day with our kids and grandkids being their center of attention, or at least that is the way it is supposed to go.

Today it is good to focus on an all too often group of Moms forgotten about. They just don't fit our image of Moms today. This group has lost sons and daughters because of war but not during war. The stories of their children lives have ended but not the story of the Moms visiting graves today that did not need to be filled.

While it may seem strange to being with Mary, the Mother of Christ, we should not forget that how His life would end was known by Mary and Joseph all along. It was foretold 700 years before the day arrived when Mary waited as Christ was taken down from the cross.
The life sacrificed for all mankind had to have that ending yet Mary grieved all the same. She had 33 years to prepare for that day while not knowing the exact time it would happen. While she may have had peace with losing her Son, it did not mean the pain was not cutting her as deeply.

When military Moms are told by their children they want to risk their lives for the rest of the nation, they have no choice but to adapt and then accept the fact their child may give his or her life for this. Some Moms may wonder why their son or daughter would want to subject themselves to such a harsh and dangerous career. Once the decision is made, somehow they find peace with the choice and support them.

They worry. They worry about them during deployment into combat zones. They worry about them everyday semi preparing themselves for the phone call or the knock at the door telling them their son or daughter did not survive. The news comes he or she is coming home and a weight is lifted off Mom's shoulders. She believes her child is safe and will be home soon. The last thing she is thinking about is the risk to her child's life has not ended just because she was able to wrap her arms around them.

Jacob Hutchinson's Mom knows this story all too well. Jacob served in the National Guards as a combat medic. He was wounded in Afghanistan,“But his personality was larger than life, and that made the wounds on the inside harder to see.” Sela Gonlubol told a reporter from the Herald Times.

His mother said he found his place. “He had a purpose, a passion in his life,” she said.
Her last contact with Hutchinson was a text message asking if he still planned to visit her on Mother’s Day. “Yes, ma’am,” he replied.

Jacob committed suicide. His Mom will have to visit his grave. So will too many other Moms.

A report on California National Guard soldier came out the beginning of May.
"California Army National Guard, there have been 36 confirmed suicides since 2001, including 28 since 2007. The worst year was 2010 with seven confirmed suicides, followed by three, five and six."

Fifteen of the 36 suicides in the California Army Guard since 2001 were committed by Soldiers who had deployed at some point in their career, including three that occurred during a deployment and two that occurred while the soldier was on transitional leave following a deployment. The other 10 all occurred at least one year after deployment.

A few days later Kevin Cullen of the Boston Globe wrote a piece about the lack of attention these stories are getting from politicians.
I’m guessing that you and I know far more than we ever needed to know about the moronic billionaire who, for the time being, still owns the Los Angeles Clippers.

Meanwhile, Benghazi’s back. As if it ever went away. With Hillary Clinton eyeing the White House, Republicans will be shouting “Benghazi!” the next two years.

When the media and politicians get their teeth into something, it’s hard to break the grip.

So why won’t they sink their teeth into something more important than the controversy du jour?

The Veterans Administration says 22 veterans kill themselves every day.

Think about it. In March, not a single American service member was killed in action in Afghanistan or Iraq. But during that month, almost 700 veterans committed suicide.

The silence is deafening.

This subject has been screaming for another ending. An ending where the military and the VA have changed what they are doing since clearly, what they are doing has not been working for years. Congress just keeps pushing the same programs that have failed far too many.

After all these years with 22 million veterans, the VA is only taking care of less than 4 million but reports on the estimated veterans with PTSD is a third of combat veterans suffer. That means most are still not seeking help and even those who do, are not getting what they need to heal in far too many cases.

Some Moms know what PTSD is and how they can help but too many have no clue. They end up blaming themselves for what they did not do or for what they did playing what they said and what they heard over and over again in their mind searching for clues of what they missed or got wrong instead of wondering what the government got wrong. They blame themselves.

They were prepared for their sons and daughters to lose their lives for the sake of someone else. They were not prepared for them to be buried because their sacrifices were not treasured enough to have their wounds taken care of.

With an estimated 8.030 veterans committing suicide every year and hundreds more in the military, these Moms and wives have to visit the graves because we have learned nothing since last Mother's Day and let it happen. These Moms were never even warned how their story of their children would end long after they thought the risk was over.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Naval Sea Cadets lend hand to Mom of Fort Hood massacre victim

U.S. Naval Sea Cadets help mother of Kiel soldier killed in Fort Hood attack
May 11, 2013
Written by
Janet Ortegon
Gannett Wisconsin Media

KIEL — Surrounded by friends new and old, Jeri Krueger is spending this Mother’s Day honoring the daughter she lost.

Krueger, 57, hosted a battalion of U.S. Naval Sea Cadets at her rural Kiel homestead over the weekend and handed out water and love as they braved frigid rain and wind to help her.

“I feel wonderful about it,” said Krueger, 57, as the teenage cadets cleared brush, chopped up fallen trees and did other cleanup and renovation work. “It’s overwhelming. I actually teared up this morning when I introduced myself to all the cadets. I just think working under these conditions — and they’re all just going at it anyway — I just think it’s Amy-azing, as we use in our family.”

Staff Sgt. Amy Krueger was killed in the Nov. 5, 2009, attack on Fort Hood, Texas. She was there awaiting her second deployment to Afghanistan as a member of the Madison-based 467th Medical Detachment.
read more here

Military moms celebrate Mother's Day rebuilding family ties

Military moms celebrate Mother's Day rebuilding family ties
By Colleen O'Connor
The Denver Post
POSTED: 05/12/2013

Soon after Miriam Beg gave birth to her son, she was deployed to Iraq with the U.S. Army, so she left baby Michael with her mother-in-law.

"I was really worried to leave my child so young," said Beg, 29, "just 4 months (old)." In the combat zone, she received photos and e-mails documenting his milestones.

"I missed his first step, his first word, his first everything," she said. "By the time I came back, he was over a year old."

First as a military mother and now as a veteran, she's run the gantlet of divorce, post-traumatic stress disorder and homelessness in her battle to be a good mom. Last year, on the verge of eviction, she put on a brave face for Michael, but fear lurked below the surface.

"I did not want to be walking the streets with bags on our shoulders," she said. "I did not want child protective services saying, 'Hey, you're homeless, we're taking your kid.' I worked so hard to have him back with me."

But this Mother's Day, there's cause to celebrate.

Beg recently moved into a new home run by the Volunteers of America, part of a transitional program for homeless female veterans suffering from domestic abuse, PTSD or military sexual trauma. She just got a job, and she's built a close relationship with Michael, now a kindergartner at Colfax Elementary School.

"I'm doing really good," she said.

More than 200,000 women were deployed to combat zones during the Iraq and Afghanistan military campaigns — the largest wartime deployment of women in U.S. history.

Just like men, women defend their country with courage and dedication. But military women face challenges that differ from those of male colleagues, and report higher levels of stress over the impact of their deployment on family, according to a 2011 report from the Women's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor.

More than 40 percent of servicewomen have children, and more than 30,000 single mothers have deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, the report said.
read more here

A Mother's Love

A Mother's Love
by Kathie Costos
Wounded Times Blog
May 12, 2013

When Jesus was born, Mary knew that her son would not outlive her. His life was planned the second His soul left Heaven and entered into the body of her blood.
Isaiah 7 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. 15 He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, 16 for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste.
It was not a secret to Mary that Her son would sacrifice His life for the sake of others.
When Jesus was forty days old, Mary and Joseph took Him to the Temple in Jerusalem. They were not wealthy, so they took two turtle doves with them to offer as a sacrifice at the Temple. As they arrived at the Temple, Mary and Joseph were met by a very old man named Simeon. He was a holy man and was noted as a very intelligent scholar. Simeon spent much time studying about the prophets of Israel. It was during his studies that he learned of the coming of the Messiah. The Jewish people were waiting for the Messiah to come and deliver Israel from their conquerors. From that time on, Simeon spent his time praying for the Messiah to come. He spent many years in prayer. Finally, while Simeon was praying he heard the voice of God. God promised Simeon that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah.

Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God.

When Simeon saw Jesus, he took the baby in his arms and blessed the Lord and said: "Lord, now let Your servant go in peace according to Your promise, because my eyes have seen Your salvation which you have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory to your people Israel."
There are some born always knowing exactly what they were born to do. Many Moms have heard the words from their children "I never wanted to do anything else." yet while it may break the hearts of their Moms, they understand even though they know it may cause their hearts to break.

Mary knew how her Son would die and the dash between the date He was born and the date He would die would changed the world.

It is that line between birth and death that matters so much more than the number of days we are all here. It is doing what was were intended to do that matters and if we follow that heart-tugging where it leads us, we find our bliss. Everything we need to do it is within us and if others listen to the still voice within them, they will help us do what we have been born to do.

Christ said "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13) And He went on to say,
14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

When we raise our children to become who they were intended to be, it comes with a mix of pride and heartache. Sometimes it means they must move away from us to do it. Sometimes it means they will put their lives in danger.

When their heart is tugged to serve others in the military, Moms know the risk will be great but it is important they do what few others have done.

American veterans are only 7% of the population and less than 1% serve in the military today. Many military women are in fact Moms leaving their children while they are deployed risking their lives for the thing they were born to do. Many more Moms have sent their children off for deployments and pray while they are gone. Some had to bury their children because of them following their hearts to serve. Some will spend Mother's Day at the grave of their child grieving because they blame themselves for the suicide death. Others face trying to help their children heal from wounds of their bodies and of their minds.

The men and women in the military and veterans of past wars had Moms making up a huge part of the dashes in their lives but more, they had a huge part in the dashes between the date this nation began and every year that comes after this. A Mother's love reaches so many more than just the child she gave birth to if they follow where their hearts lead them. It can also change many other lives because of what they do for other families.

Don't forget Moms deployed on Mother's Day

U.S. troops serving overseas salute mom on Mother’s Day
By Kristina Wong
The Washington Times
Saturday, May 11, 2013

Troops serving in Afghanistan go for months without the comforts of home and seeing loved ones regularly — something that can be felt more deeply on Mother's Day.

This will be Army Staff Sgt. Alisa Ballard’s first Mother's Day away from her 11-month-old son, Christian.

“My mom tells me that everything that I’ll miss, I could miss when I’m home. He could walk at daycare, and I could be at work. So that gave me a little bit of comfort,” said the 31-year-old Woodbridge, Virginia, native.

Air Force Tech Sgt. Sonja Parks said she’s missed multiple Mother’s Days, in her more than 12 years as an Air Force medic, but it doesn’t make being away from her daughters any easier.
read more here

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Gold Star Mother's Day needs to remember the suicides as well

How many mothers who have lost a son or daughter because of their service will not be remembered this day? How many will be left out of the "honor" others receive when a child is buried because they lost their lives in service to this nation?

Shortly after World War I the Gold Star Mothers Club was formed in the United States to provide support for mothers that lost sons or daughters in the war. The name came from the custom of families of servicemen hanging a banner called a Service Flag in the window of their homes. The Service Flag had a star for each family member in the military. Living servicemen were represented by a blue star, and those who had lost their lives were represented by a gold star. Gold Star Mothers are often politically and socially active. Today, membership in the Gold Star Mothers is open to any American woman who has lost a son or daughter in service to the United States. On the last Sunday in September, Gold Star Mother's Day is observed in the U.S. in their honor. USC Title 36 Sec. 111 The group holds a congressional charter under Title 36 of the United States Code.

If you think it's impossible for this to happen, it's happened hundreds of thousands of times, perhaps even millions of times since this nation formed. The sons and daughters lost because of the enemy within themselves. Post traumatic stress disorder, the wound no one can see with their eyes, has killed men and women with greater determination than any enemy could ever envision.

While we talk about the numbers on the Vietnam Memorial Wall, stunned by the loss, we refuse to acknowledge that hundreds of thousands of them took their own lives here back home where they were supposed to be safe and out of harms way. Could you imagine the size of the Vietnam Memorial Wall with hundreds of thousands of names on it? We also don't see the names of those who have died because of Agent Orange.

While we talk about the numbers of the loss of lives in Iraq and Afghanistan under 5,000 combined, we fail to acknowledge that there have been tens of thousands more who have ended their lives by suicide.

Natural mothers, adoptive mothers or stepmothers, who are citizens or legal residents of the United States or of the territorial and insular possessions of the United States, and whose son or daughter has made the supreme sacrifice while in the service of the United States of America Armed Forces, or died as a result of such service are eligible for membership in American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.

While I do not know if they allow parents of those who committed suicide to have the full honor as one who lost a child by a bullet or bomb, there are many in this country who believe that a suicide does not count as a loss due to service of this nation.

How many parents, wives, husbands and children are also left behind because someone they loved was willing to lay down their lives for the sake of this nation but came home, wounded by PTSD and lost hope enough that they saw their own way out of the pain they felt from this wound? Their way out was to end the life. They died as a result of this wound no less than those who have died as a result of a wound someone could see with their eyes.

We need to acknowledge all of the men and women who have lost their lives because of their service to this nation or we do not honor the loss at all.

We need to take action to save as many of them as we can and help them to heal this wound. If we do not, if we do not count all of them, take care of them, we have honored none of them.
Senior Chaplain Kathie Costos
"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation." - George Washington