The fire department recently sent out information on what Fairfax will do to recognize Veterans Day. The email also included a brief history about this day.
“While many realize that Veterans Day, which always falls on November 11, is a day to honor our veterans, few realize the historical significance behind the day. Veterans Day originated as Armistice Day and marked the end of hostilities of World War I that occurred at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month. Therefore, the day is always recognized on November 11, regardless of the day of the week the 11th falls on. The day was originally set aside to honor the Veterans of World War I with a day of parades and remembrances as well as a pause in activities at 11a.m. on that day. In 1938, it was made a legal federal holiday for all. Today, many cities celebrate Veterans Day with parades and ceremonies. Americans are encouraged to say thank you to those who fulfill this patriotic duty to maintain the freedoms of our country.”
Today we participated in another parade. It was not like the festive one from Saturday. It was much more reserved. However, it had greater meaning to me. It was an honor to show our respect to our Veterans in this way and to be a part of the Veterans Day Parade in Live Oak, FL.
The connection of military to mental illness may not be obvious to some, but this is exactly why our presence was so important.
Many veterans experience PTSD and depression and suicide rates are 50% higher than non-military. They are more likely to follow up their suicidal thoughts with a suicidal plan.
In 2012, 6500 former military personnel killed themselves. More veterans succumbed to suicide than were killed in Iraq. That same year, 177 active-duty soldiers committed suicide, whereas 176 soldiers were killed in combat.
Thankfully, the military is very familiar with this phenomenon. I suspect there are many programs through Veterans Affairs and the Wounded Warrior Project.
The military culture is very different from civilian life. Imagine how difficult it must be for a soldier to return to a “normal” life. A recent example is in the crically acclaimed movie, American Sniper.
I don’t have any answers, just like there is no easy solution to mental illness for all those affected. However, I would like to end this blog with this link to an interesting article: