A former Navy SEAL has one wish for this Independence Day — combating the suicide epidemic plaguing veteran community.
The fourth of July holiday is traditionally marked as a time of celebration, but many of the troops who have helped maintain that independence are committing suicide at an alarming rate, noted Patrick Bisher in a piece for Fox News published Sunday.
“The factors behind this cruel irony are many and varied. The causes may be debatable, but the effects are not. Numbers don’t lie,” wrote Bisher.
Indeed, veterans make up only 8.5 percent of the U.S. population, but account for 18 percent of suicides among U.S. adults, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Bisher is a decorated combat veteran who pushed himself to become a SEAL, only to have it all come crashing down during a parachuting accident. What followed was a a mix of self-pity and a reliance on mind-altering drugs. Bisher fortunately found a new purpose in religion, and claimed vets like him can do the same, but he also called upon Americans to do their part in helping our warriors.
“Do not let our brothers and sisters turn to emptiness, but go and be the light that they need. Serve them as they chose to serve our nation, putting you before themselves to protect this land, protect our freedoms, protect the very spirit that we celebrate on the 4th of July,” wrote Bisher.
President Donald Trump promised to improve the care provided to veterans during his electoral campaign. Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs David Shulkin plansto combat the suicide problem, noting in May that it “should be unacceptable to all of us.”
“Let us show them there is hope, that we the people are one nation and one body, together fighting the good fight,” wrote Bisher. “Because my wish for this and every 4th of July is simple: That the day comes when the number twenty dwindles to zero.”