I’ve spent a great deal of time pondering what I should write about this month. The subjects that were suggested by our Blog Queens were Death and taxes.
I realize death is a sad subject to discuss. It’s going to happen to all of us at some point in time. The hope is we live long, healthy, happy and productive lives. The sad truth is that many lives are cut short by accident, illness or war.
War brings me to the subject of this post on death.
Not all casualties of warfare come home in a flag draped coffin.
While watching “60 Minutes” last weekend I was stunned to hear the Veterans Association state that the average number of suicides per day for vets is twenty-two. Every 65 mins a vet commits suicide. That is eight thousand and thirty lives per year.
Most of these are young veterans, men and women who survived Iraq and Afghanistan--but who saw such atrocities that their Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder was more than they could live with or who were injured so severely, death seemed better than life.
The young vet, Clay Hunt, who was the featured story, survived the war. He won a Purple Heart, watched his buddies die in front of him and was wounded, sent home, recovered and went back to war. When he finally was discharged from the Marines, he told his mother the events of his buddies’ deaths (and there were many deaths) kept playing over and over in his head like a horror movie. He had PTSD. Clay told his mother and father, “Marines are at war, and America is at the mall.”
He was disillusioned with America and the nonchalance and lack of concern about the men and women fighting the war.
Clay tried to make a difference in the world. After the Marines he joined humanitarian efforts traveling to Haiti after the earthquake to help the people there. He traveled to Chili after another earthquake to help. Clay had a purpose and seemed to be adjusting to life after war.
But he wasn’t healed or adjusted.
Even with therapy and the support of a loving family and friends the war took Clay Hunt’s life. He committed suicide at the age of twenty-eight. Clay was unable to overcome survivor’s guilt and the never ending playback of death in his mind. This is an American tragedy played out twenty-two times a day.
This young man won a Purple Heart. He fought heroically for America. He was brave. He came home and the war took his life on American soil.
My heart goes out to Clay Hunt’s family.
To all the veterans I say thank you for your service, and God bless. May you find peace of mind in this life.
“Live in the moment. Dream what you want to dream, go where you want to go, be what you want to be. Because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do.” unknown