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Rich Zeoli Column: On Memorial Day, Honor the Fallen; Remember the Living

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Memorial Day is not Veterans Day. They are two distinctly different days that we, as a grateful nation, show our respect to those who have served our country. Memorial Day is a day to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and gave their life in military service.

We honor their life. We must never forget them. Memorial Day is not the unofficial start of summer, it is a day to remember those who have fallen. Honor them.

And please remember the living because Memorial Day can be a very difficult day for our veterans. While many of us will be enjoying parades and barbecues, many veterans will be consumed with loss. On Memorial Day, it can especially painful.

The suicide rate among veterans is a national health crisis.

According to the United States Department of Veteran’s Affairs, 20 veterans commit suicide a day.

From Military Times:

Researchers found that the risk of suicide for veterans is 21 percent higher when compared to civilian adults. From 2001 to 2014, as the civilian suicide rate rose about 23.3 percent, the rate of suicide among veterans jumped more than 32 percent. And roughly 65 percent of all veteran suicides in 2014 were for individuals 50 years or older, many of whom spent little or no time fighting in the most recent wars. 

On Memorial Day we will rightly remember those who died fighting in all of our nation’s wars and military conflicts. We will honor them and remember them. There will be documentaries running those wars and reminders of some of America’s bloodiest conflicts. Many reminders.

It may be a hard day for some veterans so it’s a good reminder that if you know someone who needs help please take the time to reach out to them on Monday. Invite them to your barbecue. If they need professional help, the Veterans Crisis Line is an excellent resource https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/ForVeterans.aspx or 800-273-8255.

Honor the fallen. Reach out to the living.

May God Bless them on Memorial Day.

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