“Thank You” Can Be A Lifesaver For Some New York Veterans
There are over 18 million veterans of United States military service living today. These are men and women that dedicated portions of their lives to "serving" our country, maintaining the freedoms that we enjoy as Americans, no matter what political party you align with. Yet, according to uso.org, over the last 21 years, four times as many military members died from suicide, then from combat wounds in Iraq and Afghanistan or any other military operation combined.
There are a vast number of reasons being given for these disturbing numbers. Military personnel sometimes spend months or even years away from family and friends in unfamiliar locations, while dealing with the stress and dangers of their daily duties. According to uso.org "8 in 10 active-duty respondents have been separated from their families in the past 18 months due to military service, and 31% have been separated for a total of six or more months." Depression, loneliness and anxiety increase substantially under these conditions.
It's also difficult for some young soldiers to adapt to the new, strict lifestyle demanded in the military. It can a drastic deviation from where they grew up. These demographic variables can make it difficult to bond and spend time with fellow service members. In addition, the article stated when the country is so divided politically, it seriously effects the morale and mental health of our nation’s military. This in turn can be dangerous for our country because this impacts operational readiness and the personal well-being of those serving our country.
Nothing is more heartbreaking than someone so despondent that they choose to take their own life. We have a problem with this in our military and you can do a small part. When you see a service member in uniform, say "thank you." You can also contact the USO and communicate to active military personnel through social media. There are a number of service member non-profits that are dedicated to helping this tragic issue. Check out tilvalhallaproject.com. They have a pretty cool business, owned and operated by vets and they seem to do some good things for military families that face the other side of suicide.
My father was a member of the United States Marine Corp during World War II. For the rest of his life, he would always make time to say thank you to service members in uniform or vets wearing hats. I took on the practice but really never knowing the importance or possible impact of a simple "thank you." To every former and active military service member, thank you. You service is greatly appreciated.