To the Editor:
This past Monday was Memorial Day. A day to remember all of those lost to our nation’s wars and to honor their sacrifice. I was shocked to learn that in all of our 244 years of history as a nation, we have been at war for 223 of them. So many to honor and mourn!
Usually on Memorial Day, many from Veterans for Peace travel to Washington, D.C., to leave paper letters at the base of the Veterans Memorials for visitors to read. The letters can be from survivors of the wars, family members of survivors, or just any who wish for peace and not war. This year it could not happen due to the current situation.
I would like to remind us all that the survivors of the wars, the ones who did not die “in” the war, are in need of our compassion also. Those wars, according to Stars and Stripes, have netted 6,132 veterans dying by suicide in 2019, let alone all of the years before that. Then also add 1,387 service members lost to suicide in 2019. Veterans for Peace list the number as “22 a day” lost to survivor-of-war suicide. That is almost one per hour every day to memorialize.
I have seen firsthand what combat in wars does to soldiers, as my husband was a frontline survivor of the Korean War. He died at the age of 80 from illness, while still suffering greatly from what that war did to his psyche. My oldest son was one of the 1993 veteran suicide statistics. He was 31.