Image: – VETERAN BATTLE ON THE HOMEFRONT – On Point Broadcasting
2001 My friend Mike shot himself. It was Christmas Day and the pain was unbearable, help was on holiday. Rest In Peace My Friend.
With a subject as serious and sensitive as the twenty-three veterans and active duty military who take their lives every day, and tomorrow, I wish to tread softly and with love. However, I want to speak with confidence, encouragement, and hope to any of our veterans and their families who may now, this day, this night, find themselves in a cold, dark place.
As a Christian, I can only look upon this tragedy through the light of my personal faith. I Peter 5:8 warns us, “Our adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” I believe this is especially true for our veterans. Many of our vets whom the devil was not able to destroy on the battlefield he seeks do destroy at home.
It is heartbreaking to realize that the same nation which does its best to train and supply our beloved military who are fighting an enemy far from our shores; leaves our vets vulnerable in the emotional battle they may face when they come home.
I don't like statistics, especially when each lifeless number represents a very real life which has been lost. Though gleaned from recent news reports and federal agency web sites, I truly hope that someone in authority can assure me that these numbers veteran suicides are wrong and vastly inflated.
1,742 – U.S. combat deaths in Afghanistan since 2001
3,527 – U.S. combat deaths in Iraq since 2003
5,269 – Total combat deaths
23 – The average number of veterans and active duty members who take their life every day.
(22 veterans and 1 active duty)
8,395 – The daily number of veteran suicides multiplied for one year.
125,925 – The annual number of veteran suicides multiplied by the fifteen years of the Afghan / Iraq War
58,307 – The number names of our Americans engraved on the Vietnam Memorial.
Over 8,000 of our vets take their lives annually and we as a nation hold no one accountable. If through negligence or ineptitude, an officer or NCO in combat causes the death of one of their soldiers, is that officer or NCO not held responsible by their superiors?
Perhaps only a vet who has stood at the edge of that dark pit, and thankfully taken a step back, can truly understand when a man or woman has lost all hope.
So what is to be done; especially in light of the fact that the Veterans Administration has long proved to be criminally inept when it comes to saving those who first served us? Recent news reports revealed that over the past year the VA suicide hotline dropped 1 million calls.
Time to Bring It Home
Rather than depending on the VA, may I respectfully suggest that local pastors coordinate within their communities? It would not be hard to get the word out to vets and their families that preachers who are faithful to the Creator of Life, ministers who believe in and defend the sanctity of life, are available night and day. There is not a Bible-believing pastor on the face of God's green earth who would not break down the very gates of hell to reach out with hope to hurting vets and their families engaged in battle on the home front.
Dear vet, if you are in a dark place, seemingly without hope, call a local pastor who is faithful to the Gospel of Christ Jesus. Your call will be answered, and your wounded heart can be healed.
There was a loving wife who begged her veteran husband to call the VA hotline. The final text she received before she discovered his body was, “STILL ON HOLD.”