by Master Sergeant (ret.) Dennis Lyddy
May 28, 2015
Master Sergeant (ret.) Dennis Lyddy.
(Photo by Lisa Aciukewicz)
I am grateful to be standing before you this Memorial Day, May 25, 2015.
Memorial Day is the day citizens can still freely gather to honor those men and women, a father or a mother, a son or a daughter, a brother or a sister who sacrificed everything in this world, so that we can continue our American way of life each day: a way of life safe from the horror of suicide bombers; secure from the brutality of snipers, car bombers, and thoughtless mines; unthreatened by indiscriminate mortars and the savagery of IEDs—a way of life that provides opportunity to learn without terror, to worship without judgment, to nourish without want, to love without labels, and to speak without fear.
Each of us present today believes, acts, and teaches the continuum of noblesse oblige.
A simple question: Why so few?
Memorial Day is a day of acknowledgment.
A day of memories and emotions Memorial Day is a day of memories and emotions.
On August 27, 2003, a native son of Deerfield, Massachusetts, died in Al Hilla, Iraq.
A roadside bomb, detonated by cowards, murdered 24-year-old Sgt. Gregory Belanger—a chef, a son, a fellow citizen-soldier.
The chef could not prepare a four-star, candlelit, romantic meal for two in a cozy apartment for a broken-hearted fiancée. The son did not get the chance to pass on his winning smile and impish tricks to a child that would make grandparents laugh and carry on the family name.
The nation lost a generous citizen-soldier who shared his tent with me and willingly left behind school, family, the love of his life, when he heard the clarion.
On September 20, 2003, a brutal insurgent mortar attack targeting Iraqi prisoners killed 26-year-old Sgt. David Travis Friedrich. Travis Friedrich, the student, studied with fabled Dr. Henry Lee to become a forensic scientist.
Sgt. Friedrich, the citizen-soldier, blended his skills, discipline, and humanity to go after the biggest group of criminals since World War II. Travis’s light was prematurely snuffed out before his brilliance could illuminate the darkness of crime.
These are only two small stories about Americans killed in a combat zone. When will they end? On MassLive, reporter Fred Contrada wrote about U.S. Army Capt. Roselle M. Hoffmaster, a Smith College graduate. Hoffmaster, a surgeon assigned to Iraq, died under “non-combat-related” circumstances in September 2007, according to the army. Sixteen months later, a government report concluded that Roselle took her own life.
In a May 6, 2014, article, the Boston Globe reported that Jeffrey Lucey, a USMC veteran, committed suicide on June 22, 2004. The Globe also photographed members of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America placing 1,892 flags representing veterans and service members who have died by suicide.
These are only two short stories about Americans dying in a safety zone. The statistics from various studies, government agencies, and independent researchers reveal that the suicide rate of veterans exceeds the suicide rate of civilians for the first time.
I simply ask: Why so many? read more here