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Friday, March 8, 2013

Wrongful Death

By Diana McCollum

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


Judith Ashley said...

Hi Diana,

Thank you for reminding us of the sacrifices our military members and their families make every hour of the day...both when on deployment and afterwards.

Diana Mcc. said...

I couldn't believe the number of suicides! I went on the VA site and double checked the facts. The arm services do so much for our country. Thanks for stopping by, Judith.

Karen Duvall said...

What a heartbreaking story, Diana. Thanks for sharing.

Cecy said...

So sad and so upsetting to hear but so necessary. I have so much respect for our soldiers and it breaks my heart to know we keep losing them even after they come home. My thanks to those who fought and to those who continue to fight their inner wars and pain. God bless.

Celeste Deveney said...

Thanks for posting this blog today, Diana. You're right, it's a heartbreaking statistic and it leaves me wondering, what can we do to help our veterans deal with the PTSD that comes home with them? I don't want to be at the mall with this happening, I want to help!

M Pax said...

Wow, I had no idea the number was that high. We shouldn't send anyone to war if we're not going to take care of them afterward. That's the real tragedy.

And I think as long as we're at war, or have people in harm's way, that should be the #1 story on the news every night.

Katie said...

Wow Mom, Not only moving and touching, but this hits home... in the heart of America. It is so sad the nonchalance of America while men and women are fighting the war. Great story and wish we had more support for troops. Thanks to all the armed forces that fight, love, and protect our country!

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Diana,
A very moving blog and so true. Has it not been so in all wars? Politicians carrying on about the heroic deeds of soldiers, but when the war is ended or they come home wounded in body and soul, they are then seen as an inconvenience to the government.
These shameful happenings go on in Australia too. It sickens me.



Diana Mcc. said...

Karen, Cecy,Celeste, Mary and Margret,
Thanks for stopping by. I wish there was an easy, quick solution for this problem plaguing our troops when they come home.

Diana Mcc. said...

Katie, daughter dearest, thanks for stopping by. :) Clay's story touched my heart.

Lisa said...

Loved this is very sad how we forget about these amazing people who fight for our freedoms while we go on with our everyday lives. We all need to be more diligent about thanking and honoring them each day. Thanks for bringing this to our attention, I had no idea on the suicide rate, so sad :(

Diana Mcc. said...

I know it is a horrible statistic of war. Clay's story touched my heart.