DC Service Brings Attention to Veteran Suicide - NBC4 Washington

DC Service Brings Attention to Veteran Suicide

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    Disabled Veterans Memorial Ceremony

    A ceremony at the American Veterans Disabled For Life Memorial highlights the issue of suicide among veterans. News4's Derrick Ward reports. (Published Sunday, May 8, 2016)

    A moving service held in D.C. on Sunday brought attention to the hundreds of thousands of military moms who can no longer celebrate Mother's Day with their children.

    Veterans, families and advocates gathered at the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial to raise awareness about veteran suicide.

    Each day, 22 veterans take their own lives, according to the Disabled American Veterans and the Spartan Alliance. The two organizations teamed up for the event.

    "My son Keith took his life on September 1, 2015. He was 22 years old," said mother Margie Miller.

    Dozens of veterans took an oath against suicide, promising to reach out to someone if they think about harming themselves.

    "You took a solemn pledge to protect our country. Take that same pledge, the Spartan Pledge and protect yourself. Say, 'I will reach out for help,'" Miller said to the veterans at the service.

    "We're trying to buddy up and have a close friend that understands and that has been there," said Dennis Joyner, who

    Joyner lost both of his legs and an arm when he stepped on a landmine in Vietnam's Mekong Delta in 1969. He said he understands the heavy toll of serving in a war and it's vital for veterans to have a support group they can depend on.

    "It's their families, their friends, no matter what they do it's always there," Joyner said.