I am coming off a great but full weekend, filled with friends and family! I am tired but my heart is full. On Saturday I got to spend a day on the beach with 5 other dear friends and it was fantastic. The sun was high in the sky and the ocean was the perfect chilly temp to cool us off. It truly is amazing how fast a day without kids can go!
An interesting thing happened though as we were sitting on the beach. A woman was walking around asking for people to meet her at a certain spot at 1pm in order to all say the pledge of allegiance. She just lost her cousin to suicide, he was a young man of only 26 and a war veteran. How could we not all respond to such an unnecessary loss? As it neared 1pm, people from all over the beach started making their way to the designated area. I cannot tell you the power it was to look around at people from every color and creed standing there, as Americans. We stood together to say the pledge, to honor this lost soldier. Did you know an average of 22 veterans take their own lives each day?
A few things have been rolling around in my mind since then. First of all, there has to be a better way. The statistics on suicide among veterans is staggering. These men and women have sacrificed so much, yet feel so lost. I cannot write any of this from personal experience, but among my dear friends on the beach was an army wife. We had a good conversation about the reality soldiers face upon return.
Another thing that has set on my heart was the fact that we could all lay aside our differences on that beach, to just be Americans together. I am sure if you pulled any two of us aside, we might've had differing opinions on everything from sexuality to social justice. We were an extremely varied group, yet it was important to come together. In this election season, we have all seen and felt so much divide. My hope for the rest of this election year, we find ways to come together like this, "one nation under God."
If you feel led to contribute to making a change to these statistics, there's a really fantastic program out there called Heroes and Horses. The program allows "challenging them to rediscover who they are and what they can be moving forward. Heroes and Horses’ focus is not about what happened, but what can happen when one chooses to press on."