Monday, May 25, 2020

Her Father's Flag

Amon Gift, a US Army veteran, was twenty 23 years old 
when he died by suicide, in January of 2017. 

The photo abiove is of his daughter at his funeral.

I first published this photo as a Beauty of Grief feature in November of 2017. I try to share it again at lease once a year. Memorial Day seems a fitting day to share it again. Its heartbreaking message stands. We are losing too many veterans and active military members to suicide. And, as always - there are too many loss survivors left behind.

If you want to learn more about suicide and the military, I have written about it extensively here on this blog, including sharing statistics, research, and as always - the voices of those who have lost a loved one to suicide.

The reasons for the epidemic of military related suicide are varied and complex. However, the importance of showing our support to individuals is critical. While the overall rate of suicide related military deaths has decreased from 22 per day to 20 per day, suicide is still a leading cause of death for those who are veterans of the US military. And, of significant concern - records kept in 2018 suggest that the suicide rate of active duty members has reached the highest number during the entirety of record keeping. 

Today is Memorial Day. Reach out to someone who is serving or has served in the military. Let them know that they are loved and that you care.

Remember that supporting military related suicide prevention efforts should be happening every single day, as well.

If you are a veteran or actively serving member of the armed forces and you are feeling hopeless or suicidal - please reach out. You can start by calling the Veterans Crisis Line. Your service to the country is appreciated. Your life matters. You are needed in this world.

(Thank you to Kelsey Leann Tobin for permission to use the beautiful photo of her daughter, above.)