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
was my battle
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
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.