As I sit and reflect on Memorial Day 2017, my heart could not be any more filled with appreciation for people I have never met, that gave their life for people they never met. The first military memory that comes to mind is my visit to the constant vigil held at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arlington National Cemetery. If you have not had the honor of watching this amazing vigil in person, please take time to watch it on YouTube. I have visited the memorial numerous times, but one special time will forever stand out in my mind. My wife and I had the amazing honor of escorting her grandfather, a brave warrior Marine in World War II, on the Honor Flights that provide the trip of a lifetime to Washington D.C. for military veteran’s. Raymond Cook made multiple landings with the Marine Corps in the war, eventually being shot during the battle at Iwo Jima. During that particular trip to the Tomb of the Unknown Solider, I had the distinct honor of standing next to the memorial, where only veterans and their families are allowed. These brave men and women, that served in the war, could be observed with tears in their eyes as they saluted the Tomb. The memory will never leave me. The primary picture for this post is Mr. Cook holding the hand of my daughter at the Marine Corps Memorial at Arlington. It is clear in the picture that this is an emotional moments, even despite being able to see their faces.
Memorial Day is to honor the brave men and women that gave their life as an ultimate sacrifice so that I can live free. That debt can never be repaid. What we can focus on together is the pain of the veterans that are still here, and suffering from the unexplainable sights and sounds that they dealt with. I am driven to help these heroic men and women with the pain they suffer after returning home. While I am not a veteran, I served my community for 18 years as a police officer and emergency medical technician, and I do understand how difficult the sights and sounds of trauma can be. I do understand just how these images never leave, and how you carry them home with you despite your best efforts not too. I do understand what it is like to feel completely alienated by everyone around you, despite their love for you, because you cannot possibly put into words the reason you feel like you do. The United States Veterans Affairs released a report that indicates that 22 veterans a day commit suicide. While the true reason they leave us will never be known, I do know that it includes the fact that trauma can be completely overwhelming to the brain. There is help from someone that understands!!! There is the possibility to stop the suffering and live a less painful life!!! Do not suffer alone!!! If you, or a veteran you know, is suffering from trauma, please call Thin Line Counseling LLC at 800-464-1958 to set up an appointment.