Headline Haiku: Veterans Day 2015
When I saw this story on the front page of the New York Times in September, it gave me a shiver of recognition.
cut with perilous question:
Is This Life?
In August of 2009, a similar story also appeared on the front page of the Times. That one gave me a double take: one of the soldiers pictured at the grave of a comrade was a young man who grew up across the hall from me, who used to babysit for my children. The 1451st Transportation Company, home from Iraq, had experienced 4 suicides among its 175 soldiers in the space of a year.
“The ‘business as usual’ attitudes of the past are no longer appropriate,” said an Army spokesman at the time.
Fast forward to 2015. The Second Battalion, Seventh Marine Regiment, home from Afghanistan: 13 suicides in the seven years since deployment. Four in 2014.
“For years leaders at the top level of the government have acknowledged the high suicide rate among veterans and spent heavily to try to reduce it. But the suicides have continued…”
There is no antidote to the horrors of war.
The elder George Bush now claims that his son was ill-advised about the nature and cost of going to war in the Middle East by Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. Small comfort for the men and women who were sent into the maelstrom, whose lives can never be returned to the normal of “before”.
Waving flags and solemn speeches and marching in parades won’t bring them back.