I was scrolling through my

Facebook feed on Monday when

I came across a posting from

one of my battle buddies from

Garryowen. Yes, I know. I spend a

lot of time on Facebook — I’m a

junkie, but it’s really the best way

I have of keeping in touch with all

the soldiers, Marines and sailors I’ve

served with over the years.

What set me

back about this

post, however,

was my battle

had screen-captured

a conversation

he had

with another

veteran. They

were disagreeing

about something, with both

politics and race involved, and the

veteran told my battle he hoped he

would “hurry up and join the 22.”

I was dumbstruck. Have we really

become so racially and politically

divided that we have forgotten the

most important thing about the

veteran community there is? It’s a

family, and in many cases it’s a family

with ties more strong than blood

relations.

Every day I see posts about the

loss of another brother or sister to

suicide. Most I never met. Some, I

knew slightly. A few, I knew all too

well. Their deaths hurt, although

the loss of those I served with makes

my chest ache on a daily basis.

Yes, we are losing 22 veterans a

day to suicide, and that is not even

counting our brothers and sisters

who are still wearing the uniform

who are taking their lives. To tell

a fellow veteran to go join them is

beyond anathema to me.

Further down in the comments, I

did see that the veteran who made

that comment fully regretted it, realizing

later just what he had said.

But it does not change the fact that

it was said.

I realize we are all different: We

come in all colors, backgrounds,

religions and political beliefs. There

are some of my military family with

political ideals I fully agree with

and some with beliefs that make me

want to question their sanity. Either

way, I respect their right to their own

opinion and would drop everything

to help them if they are in need.

And even if I think that veteran

“drank the Kool-Aid” on a particular

topic, I would never wish them

harm. I would be the fi rst person I

would ask they call if they ever considered

doing harm to themselves.

There are many organizations out

there willing to help out a veteran in

need — in fact, I intend to highlight

one of those organizations in next

week’s Fort Hood Herald. But quite

frankly, veterans should always be

able turn to other veterans during

a crisis. We are our brothers’ and

sisters’ keepers, because we are the

ones who truly understand them.

We can never forget that.

DAVID A. BRYANT is an Army retiree and a military journalist

for the Killeen Daily Herald. You can reach him at dbryant@

kdhnews.com or 254-501-7554.

dbryant@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7554

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