Recently, I read “Red Platoon” by Medal of Honor recipient Clinton Romesha, a non-fiction book that documents the attack by over three hundred Taliban fighters against Camp Keating, an isolated US command outpost in the extreme northern mountains of Afghanistan just a few miles from the Pakistan border. As Camp Keating was being closed down, only a small detachment of soldiers remained when the camp was attacked. Red Platoon, Romesha’s unit, consisted of nineteen soldiers, eight of whom were killed during the battle. In most small military units such as Red Platoon, a camaraderie and a close personal bond develops among the soldiers. The loss of those eight fellow soldiers had a devastating psychological impact on the survivors, a fact emotionally documented by Romesha in this personal account.
Every day it is estimated that twenty-two veterans commit suicide . . . a truly horrific statistic that represents a failure of our Veteran’s Administration health care system in dealing with the ravages of war on the psyche of our combat veterans. While some dispute the accuracy of that number, even one suicide is one too many.
Warriors Veteran Outreach, a local non-profit veteran support group, is sponsoring a 22-mile walk from Andrews to Murphy on Saturday, May 28, 2016, to raise awareness of this vitally important issue (see details here). If you miss the walk, you can attend meetings and future events. Meeting details and contact information is provided at the end of this post.
The Cherokee County Commissioners passed a resolution in support of Warriors Veteran Outreach and the awareness walk:
- WHEREAS, the suicide rate for veterans averages 22 veterans every day; and
- WHEREAS, service to our country is a hallmark of the American character and central to how we meet our challenges; and
- WHEREAS, national service expands economic opportunity by creating more sustainable, resilient communities and providing education, career skills, and leadership abilities for those who serve; and
- WHEREAS, the freedoms we enjoy as Americans have been purchased and maintained at a high price throughout our history by the sacrifices of those who have served in our military; and
- WHEREAS, we owe a great debt to those who have served in defense of this nation; and
- WHEREAS, throughout the generations, their sacrifices have preserved our unique form of government dedicated to human rights and respect for the individual; and
- WHEREAS, we pledge our continued defense of our nation so that their sacrifice will stand before the entire world as a tribute to the spirit and determination of a people dedicated to the principles of freedom and democracy; and
- WHEREAS, the sacrifices made by the members of our Armed Forces to protect America and its people, will never be forgotten;
- THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that we, the Commissioners of Cherokee County, NC, do hereby proclaim May 28, 2016, as Veteran Suicide Awareness Day, and encourage residents to recognize the positive impact of veterans service in our county and thank those who are serving and have served in our military. We further urge all citizens to honor our veterans and rededicate themselves to the preservation of our liberties under the Constitution.
Warriors Veteran Outreach
P.O. Box 134
Murphy, N.C. 28906
First Tuesday of each month at 7 P.M.
Journey Church Fellowship Hall
Hwy 64 West – mile marker #18
Murphy, N.C. 28906