The Dishonored Sacrifice

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic
This editorial, written for school, outlines suicide in active and civilian U.S Army and Marines.

Submitted: December 02, 2012

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Submitted: December 02, 2012

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The Dishonored Sacrifice

Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among individuals, worldwide, ages 25-45, and is also the third leading cause of death among Marines, alone. Countless families and friends are left in constant grief, after our brave Soldiers and Marines lose sight of their lives and see no other option than to end their own lives. Returning U.S Marines and Soldiers, as well as those in active duty, need more mental help, support, and rehabilitation to prevent our worlds, and our country’s suicide rate from rising even higher than it already has. While I believe that this is needed, others in our country and our government believe that military funds would be better used for weapons, and defensive purposes, and that there is not enough money available, while we are fighting in several wars.

Not enough Soldiers and Marines are receiving the mental help, support, and rehabilitation they need. This includes medications, treatments, and therapy or counseling. This has caused suicide in U.s troops to go up 18 percent, from the same time last year (Moscow-Pullman Daily News, 2012). Nearly every day in the past year, an active duty soldier has committed suicide. That adds up to about 360 completed suicides each year. A report from the Pentagon states: “There were 154 suicides by active duty troops in the first 155 days of the year, and 18 percent increase over the same period last year.” (Moscow- Pullman Daily News, 2012). Over all, that is 50 percent more troops dead by their own hand than the number of U.S forces killed in action in Afghanistan.

When U.S Soldiers and Marines return home, if they don’t get the mental help that they need, they may fall victim to suicide, and also hurt the ones around them. PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) causes visions, flashbacks, and in most cases depression. Many soldiers who commit suicide are later diagnosed as having PTSD. Most troops who have PTSD see previous battles, fallen comrades, and those who they love flashing before their eyes. There is medication to treat PTSD, but it is usually unavailable to troops, especially those over- seas, if they don’t have proper insurance or funding. Another problem leading to suicide is the feeling of self defeat, or disappointment in one’s self. Mrs. Ruocco, the widow of a war veteran who committed suicide, says:  For a Marine or Soldier, when you’re dragging your unit down, that’s a dishonorable thing. “They don’t fear death, they don’t fear combat, but they do fear letting somebody down.”  (Sen. Patrick Leahy, Sen. Lindsey Graham, 2011). If a social worker or counselor were to be available for U.S forces,many soldiers would relocate their self worth, and not end their lives. Also, some people who have PTSD, or have lost their self worth, may hurt others. When some of our brave military men and women return home, they turn to alcohol, drugs, or other illegal substances. Alcoholism can lead to marital problems, abuse of others, and those can lead to one committing suicide, or being placed in a jail setting. Is that really what the men and women who have given so much to us and their country deserve?  

A possible solution to this, would be to open mental health facilities and rehabilitation centers for returning, and deployed U.S forces. We, as a country, should also make these services open, and or insured for Marines and Soldiers, as to further decrease their stress about finding more money, or going on without the treatment they need. Mental health treatments like therapists, medications, medical treatments, rehabilitation centers, and therapeutic treatments can help people cope with mental illness, or totally diminish their disease. Senator Patrick Leahy says: “These brave men and women- who are not only professional soldiers, but also our neighbors, co- workers, friends and family- have sacrificed so much for us and for our nation. Offering them treatment for post- combat wounds- the ones we can see and also the ones we can’t- is the very least they deserve.”

As more and more of our brave military Americans lose their lives to depression, and PTSD, we lose more great friend, and Soldiers or Marines. They don’t only cause harm to themselves, but can also cause harm, and grief to the ones close to them. If we don’t lower the number of suicides in our Marines and Soldiers soon, who will protect our nation? How many families will continue to grieve, and how many more will lose the ones they love? If this doesn’t end soon, more and more of our brave service men and women will do the unthinkable, and make what they believe to be the dishonorable sacrifice for the country they loved, and protected with their lives.


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