I am tired and sleepy and have spent a couple of hours roaming through various books on vets issues and am trying to wrap my mind around things in order to pull some of my weight at work on this research project. At the end of this bout I am about to shut down and go to bed. Before I do I scan the headlines of some news feeds. One of them gets my attention and I read the first paragraph and it brings me to tears.
Retired Oregon National Guard Major Tom Egan died of exposure in Eugene, homeless, with a liquor bottle by his side. Yet he had friends, including members of the National Guard.
Another story listed a statistic that I knew was high but still shocks me whenever I see it.
From 2000 to 2006, 1,066 male veterans in Oregon took their lives. There have been as many Iraq-Afghanistan veteran suicides in Oregon as Oregonians have been killed in theater. Do the math, in 72 months that is almost four suicides per week for six years!
I am not doing enough. I waste too much time. I weep for my lost brothers in arms. I’ve let them down. Whether they died from their own hands or they froze to death… I let them down.
I am sorry.