Posts Tagged ‘Veterans Day’
Some weeks ago, I was listening to the great 1999 album by Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris called Western Wall: The Tucson Sessions. The fifth track on the album was described by the respected website AllMusic.com in this way:
“The album’s best track, ‘1917,’ was written by folk singer David Olney. It’s impossible to imagine anyone else singing this haunting tale of soldiers and women in World War I. Fragile and breathtaking, Harris’ voice is buoyed by the angelic harmonies of Ronstadt and Kate and Anna McGarrigle.”
I always find it extraordinary haunting.
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Here’s a weird thing. A friend of a friend of mine had a husband in the military. She (FoF) started making comments on her Facebook page that people should send pictures of her husband so that her children would have mementos by which they would be able to remember him. Oddly, she never actually wrote that he had died.
So I began searching. I discovered that the most comprehensive listing of those who were killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan I could find is provided by MilitaryTimes.com, “honoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.”
But, as it turned out, he didn’t die in battle. He was stateside and had committed suicide. Apparently, after a third tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan, it was just too much.
From this ABC NEWS story:
The increase in suicide deaths is one of the most distressing issues facing military leaders who want to reduce the rates among active-duty service members. More than 2,000 of them have killed themselves in the past decade [PDF], including 295 last year compared with 153 in 2001.
Despite their best suicide-prevention efforts, reducing the number of military suicides has been a frustrating challenge, military leaders acknowledged [in September 2011] at a congressional hearing in Washington, D.C. Recent efforts have included increasing at-risk service members’ access to mental health professionals, while reducing the stigma attached to mental health care. Internet outreach, including “video chats,” has also shown some promise.
The difficulty, however, is in identifying which initiatives work best and deciphering the multiple triggers that can lead to suicide within the armed services, which accounts for a small fraction of the total number of people who serve.
Despite my lack of understanding of the reasons for going to war, I feel real grief over the sheer despair these men and women must have been going through to take their own lives. Here’s hoping that the Telehealth programs now being used by the military can stem the tide of these horrible losses.
The end of the Great World War, later dubbed World War I, was supposedly the “War to end all wars.” How has that turned out?
Found some war quotes here:
“There are no atheists in foxholes” isn’t an argument against atheism, it’s an argument against foxholes.” – James Morrow
“War is only a cowardly escape from the problems of peace.” – writer Thomas Mann
“The more you sweat in peacetime, the less you bleed during war.” – Chinese Proverb
“War is a poor chisel to carve out tomorrow.” – Martin Luther King, Jr
“You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.” – Albert Einstein
I’ve discovered that there seems to be some confusion about the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. That fact confuses me, frankly, though their previous designations would be much more unclear.
Memorial Day, which falls on the last Monday of May, commemorates the men and women who died while serving in the American military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971.
Whereas: Read the rest of this entry »