What Veterans Think of Their Service, Protests and the Flag

What Veterans Think of Their Service, Protests and the Flag

Choice Words on Hot Button Topics

Veterans Speak Out

Recent events look like decades old history come to life: blacks beaten in the streets, peaceful protesters overrun by police.
Racist leadership. Colin Kapernick took a knee during the NFL games after consulting with a Veteran who advised him that it would be more respectful than sitting it out.

Now we’ve returned to Mr. Kapernick’s mission with the last straw murder of George Floyd. Lots of things are being said in the name of the flag, in the name of Veterans, and in the name of law and order. But what do Veterans, who know a thing or two about violence, think about our rights as Americans?

red white blue star

From Comments Made on May 4th – Before Mattis Spoke Up

The unfiltered opinions of Veterans, solicited anonymously on the Internet, reflect a unified group of humble but clear eyed men and women who wish you ‘d stop listening to people who use them to sell you something.

Warning: R-rated language.

It’s funny…some of the most ‘patriotic’ people never served, nor do they volunteer to help our elderly veterans, or put flags down at national cemeteries. But gottdamn, bubba sure luvs his country!!! ‘Murica, fuck yeah!! If I need street cred, here it is. I am not just a veteran, I am a combat veteran, a military retiree, and now a DoD civilian and a member of military/civic organizations. Kneeling during the national anthem is a protest – it never had anything to do with veterans until bubba and cletus and fox news got involved. At which point, apparently, I was supposed to be highly offended. I wasn’t. Our national anthem is our national anthem, and our flag is our flag. Both have traditions and ceremonies, but let’s not get carried away here. Did Apollo Creed disrespect the flag in Rocky IV before getting his ass whooped by Ivan Drago…?? What is more detrimental to our nation and our freedom….a football player kneeling during the national anthem or a cop kneeling on the neck of an unarmed, handcuffed civilian – what is the bigger threat to you?

It’s a free country so they can do whatever they want, either side. They don’t need my permission. What does offend me is when veterans are used as a political tool by either side or by any social movement. Nobody cares about me or what I think until it benefits them.

10000% THIS

Exactly how I feel! I especially hate when the military gets used by people who never served.

I joined and suffered for their right to do whatever the fuck they want. It actually pisses me off when I see people get uppity about proper respects and shit because it’s a free country right?

Exactly this. I don’t care what ppl do as long as they are respectful to others who are doing what they want.

As a Vietnam Era Marine, I share the attitude of most younger Marines that we were in Vietnam to defend the Right of Americans to disagree with the Government and to peacefully protest.

No one is offended on our behalf (enough to do anything tangible that is) at suicide rates, drug and alcohol abuse rates, inadequate health care, etc. “oh that’s such a shame” *keeps walking.

No one seems to care about what plagues veterans unless it can somehow be used to benefit them.

No one was offended enough on our behalf to truly protest the Iraq War. Sure, there were some protests at the beginning in big cities, but they were tame and then they were over…even after we were certain the whole thing was BS.

Most of us would

  1. Run inside or stay inside if we knew the flag was about to go off.

  2. Rush off post to also avoid the flag

Our reverence for the flag and any ceremonial effects to it are highly overrated by the general populace.

Shit, that brings back memories. Also observed the higher the rank the faster and more inventive the duck out.

The only time I don’t mind the Anthem at a sporting event is the Olympics, or something similar, because those are representative of the countries as a whole and I get the meaning. Otherwise I couldn’t care less about it played before every game from youth leagues up to professional leagues.

I also am far from ashamed of my service, but I feel weird when teams trot out someone in uniform for recognition and/or ask all the vets to stand. Fuck off and play the game so I can enjoy my $900 beer in peace.

Ding ding ding! The fetish-ization of troops/veterans by the big sports leagues over the past 20 years has always made me a bit uncomfortable. They’ve spent that time basically tribalizing fanaticizing the fan base because patriotism sells well in our post 9/11 sports culture. Now those chickens came home to roost. They made their bed and now they don’t want to sleep in it.

Shit no. They could wipe their ass with the flag. Its their right as a citizen. What does offend me is nationalists turning a mild protest into propaganda for racism and treason. Patriotism good. Nationalism bad.

 

 

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

VA Life Insurance Programs

VA Life Insurance Programs

Essential Programs For Veteran Families

What You Need to Know About VA Life Insurance

Soldiers in any branch of the armed services have the option to obtain life insurance. Active duty at some point turns into Veteran status, but you have the option to roll that coverage over to a different but same policy for your after service years. The following is excerpt from the Department of Defense’s Wounded, III,and/or Injured Compensation and Benefits Handbook.

 

once a soldier charity for soldier suicide

VA LIFE INSURANCE PROGRAMS

Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) Total Disability Extension

If you are released from active duty, the Reserves, or the Guard; were covered by full time SGLI; and have a disability that prevents you from being gainfully employed, you may continue your SGLI coverage at no cost for up to two years from your date of separation. The amount of coverage cannot exceed the amount that you had while in service. To apply, contact the Office of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (OSGLI) at: 1-800-419-1473, or visit the VA website at: http://www.benefits.va.gov/insurance/sglidisabled.asp.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) BenefitsTraumatic Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (TSGLI)

If you have SGLI coverage, then you are automatically covered by TSGLI. The TSGLI program provides short-term monetary assistance to you if you are severely injured and suffer a physical loss as a direct result of a traumatic event. Payments range from $25,000 to a maximum of $100,000. If you are covered by SGLI and suffer a qualifying loss, even if that loss did not occur in the line of duty or in a combat situation, you may be eligible for a TSGLI payment. TSGLI applies to the total force of Active Duty, National Guard, and Reserves.

The TSGLI program became effective on December 1, 2005, but benefits are also payable to you if you had a qualifying loss due to a traumatic injury between October 7, 2001, and November 30, 2005, in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) or Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Additionally, beginning October 1, 2011, a TSGLI benefit can be paid if you were injured and suffered a qualifying loss, even if it was not incurred in OEF or OIF.Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI)You may convert your SGLI coverage to VGLI within 240 days of leaving active duty regardless of your health or if you are unable to be gainfully employed due to a disability after the two-year SGLI Disability Extension period expires. Veterans released from service after October 31, 2012, have 240 days to convert their SGLI to VGLI without evidence of good health. After the 240 day period, you have an additional year to convert to VGLI, but you must meet good health requirements.

If you are eligible for the SGLI Disability Extension, you are automatically converted to VGLI after the two-year extension period, unless you decline or fail to pay premiums.• Increasing VGLI Coverage: Current VGLI mem-bers who are under the age of 60 and not insured for the maximum amount of VGLI prescribed by law can increase their VGLI coverage by $25,000, once every five years.• Converting VGLI to Permanent Insurance: You can convert your VGLI to a permanent plan of insurance (e.g., whole life) at any time with any of the participating commercial insurance companies. For more information, contact OSGLI at 1-800-419-1473, or visit the VA Insurance website at: www.benefits.va.gov/insurance.

• Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance (S-DVI): The S-DVI program is a life insurance program for Veterans with service-connected disabilities. S-DVI is available in a variety of permanent plans as well as term insurance. Policies are issued for a maximum face amount of $10,000. In order to be eligible for S-DVI, you must have been released from active duty with other than a dishonorable discharge, received a rating for a new service-connected disability, and applied within the last two years of the rating (even a rating of 0%). An increase for a previously rated condition does not provide a new eligibility period for S-DVI. Contact the VA Insurance Service toll-free at 1-800-669-8477, or online at http://www.benefits.va.gov/insurance/s-dvi.aspfor more information.

• Waiver of S-DVI Premiums: S-DVI policyholders who have a totally disabling mental or physical disability may be eligible to have their premiums waived. The policyholder’s disability must have begun before his or her 65th birthday and must continue for at least six consecutive months.• Supplemental S-DVI: Supplemental S-DVI currently provides up to $30,000 of supplemental life insurance to S-DVI policyholders who are approved for waiver of premiums. Application must be made prior to age 65 and within one year of the date the waiver of premiums for S-DVI is granted. Premiums may not be waived on this supplemental coverage.

• Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI): The VMLI program provides mortgage life insurance to severely disabled Veterans and Service members on active duty, ages 69 or younger. Only Veterans and Service members who have received a Specially Adapted Housing Grant from VA are eligible. VMLI provides up to $200,000 of mortgage life insurance payable to the mortgage holder (i.e. a bank or mortgage lender) in the event of your death. This coverage reduces as the amount of your mortgage is reduced. Additional information can be found here: http://www.benefits.va.gov/INSURANCE/vmli.asp

 

If you are a caregiver in need, check out this helpful resource.

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

Financial Aid for Veteran Suicide from PTSD

Financial Aid for Veteran Suicide from PTSD

Postvention Monetary Assistance For Veteran Families

Once a Soldier Serves Those in Crisis

Once A Soldier is here for families who have suffered a Veteran suicide with PTSD as it’s root cause. With 17 soldier suicides a day (according to the updated VA research –  22 soldier suicides a day was originally miscalculated but latched onto by nonprofit organizations and others and branded), approximately 14 are Veterans. Active duty accounts for the remainder and that include all available services and reserves. Here are three calls to make after you get the news.

Mainly, we find that PTSD has a leading role in this sad story. We therefore typically gift, or offer financial assistance after the fact, to those Veteran families who lost their soldier in a battle with PTSD. If you’re exhibiting symptoms of PTSD and are looking for free and drug-free options, this article can help you now. Once a Soldier will gift all Veteran suicide families, therefore please keep us in mind or share this news with someone who needs our suicide postvention help.

Funerals are Expensive. Unexpected Ones are Devastating.

The mission is to help heal the emotional and financial scars left behind after a Veteran Suicide. We also offer time of need counseling for families who have just discovered that a tragic death has entered their house. Funeral homes and airlines do their best to offer aid and comfort to Veteran families, but sometimes their help can hurt in the long run. Families faced with a slew of decisions in a time of sadness and confusion will still make good decisions, but sometimes they aren’t presented with all the facts or options that are available. Our time of need counseling can make sure that the family doesn’t make the financial scar deeper than it needs to be. 

Average Costs of Veteran Suicide

Reported by the families that we serve, in general the costs range from $6,000 to $12,000. Funeral home costs make up to 80% of any total expense. More and more funeral homes can offer or are affiliated with another funeral home that can provide cremation services. 

Direct cremation is the most cost-effective option and you have every right to inquire about that service from whomever is holding your loved ones remains. If interested, here’s more on that.  

Secondarily, depending on where the Veteran took their life, transportation costs can add to that monetary burden immediately. Airlines require special handling of the body in addition to the airfare. Most will bend over backwards to help Veterans, but market price and demand can still keep a body tied up in a far away funeral home for what is an agonizing amount of time. 

Finally, for financial help for PTSD-related Veteran suicide victims or survivors, reach out to those local, military-centric nonprofits for additional help. Not just financial or emotional, but you never know what they can offer if you don’t ask. The national Veteran service organizations will have ways for you to connect but not local resources that you may need right after a Veteran suicide. 

Any questions or comments, please feel free to add to the conversation.

If you are a caregiver in need, check out this helpful resource.

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

Expert Debunks Veteran Suicide Myths

Expert Debunks Veteran Suicide Myths

You Don’t Need to Be an Expert Help!

Saving a Life Starts Here

Veteran suicide suffers from the same stigma associated with civilian suicide. That stigma slows down the conversation, and not just on a national level, but on a personal one. What you think about discussing suicidal thoughts might be wrong. Here are five ways that you can think differently talking with someone you love about suicide. 

Veteran families have a higher obstacle to climb because soldiers can want to carry the load no matter how heavy. They all feel that maybe they could have said that one thing that their loved one would still be here. So for them, and for you if you think you need one little nudge to get you over the hump to talk to someone you love about suicide, read on.  

The Reddit community supplied all the content below and the original material can be found here. If you’re a Veteran, this is a place to meet other Vets. 

deployed soldier take a break

Five Myths to Reconsider

Asking about suicide plants the idea in their head. False [see: Dazzi, T., Grobble, R., Wessely, S., & Fear, N. (2014). Does asking about suicide and related behaviors induce suicidal ideation? What is the evidence? psychological medicine] Instead it might help save their lives by reducing the stigma and allowing them to open up a conversation about their thoughts (also, don’t be afraid to use the word “suicide” or “killing yourself.”

People who are suicidal want to die. In most cases, suicidal people don’t want to die, they want the PAIN to stop. There is a difference. They don’t see any way to make it stop unless they are dead. Depression is treatable and there are ways to help reduce the pain and find reasons for living.

People who are suicidal are weak. False. Depression is a serious, but treatable illness that has nothing to do with moral strength or weakness.

People who commit suicide are selfish. False. Most people who commit suicide truly believe that their loved ones would be better off without them. Many believe that they put a burden on family and friends and that they would be much happier without them. I’ve had patients share these thoughts with their loved ones and they were utterly surprised to see their loved ones vehemently disagree with their thoughts.

People who are suicidal are just trying to get attention. I’ll end on this one, because I really want you to remember this. OF COURSE THEY WANT ATTENTION. And?? They are crying for help, they do want attention because they are screaming for help. If someone’s house is on fire, don’t they cry for help and try to get someone’s attention? Why do we shame people for suicidal behaviors or sharing their thoughts? There are so many more I’d love to share, but I’ll just start here for now. Check on your loved ones.

Another common attitude that shows a problematic lack of empathy is when people take seriously only completed suicides or “real suicide attempts” and even praise them as signs of genuine and heroic suffering and struggle. Meanwhile mocking and downplaying “fake” or “attention seeking” suicide attempts, surviving less effective methods, as well as self harm in general.

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author.

What Veteran Suicide Sounds Like

What Veteran Suicide Sounds Like

Online Veteran Forums Give Insight to Suicide Ideation

Real Vets. Real Posts.

Looking for support from their fellow Veterans, this Reddit subReddit give us a chance to see events and emotions leading up to the brink of Veteran suicide.

What do I do?

Right now I’m struggling more than ever. I lost my job in October due to PTSD and workplace harassment. I have since struggled with depression and suicide. I feel/felt I had no one to turn to. In January, my best friend of over 25 years said he was going to lose his kids and they were going to be placed with some strangers in the state foster system. Without even asking my wife, I told him we would take the two kids while he undergoes drug rehabilitation, detox, etc. he has since relapsed and we again, didn’t think twice to adopting these two boys and letting them be our family.
Now, we have four kids 15,11,9, and 3 and our house only has one shower (the other tub is broken), not enough rooms, and bad electrical. On top of all that, because I lost my job, I have to file for bankruptcy. I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders and I’m panicking. If there is another season, I need help.

My heart can’t handle much more pain.

Medically retired, Infantry

 
deployed soldier take a break

Losing my grip

I’ve been out for 5 months now. 100 percent disabled. Can’t seem to hold down a job. Can’t seem to keep my life together. Moved back to my hometown. Old friends have moved on. Feeling pretty alone and disenfranchised. Idk who I’m talking to. Whoever will listen I suppose.

So a few years ago I had an almost complete breakdown –

Bad enough to call the crisis line and ask for help. I don’t like to ask for help, so obvs that was pretty bad. I was diagnosed w PTSD & major depressive disorder and hooked up with a psych-doc who has tried multiple meds to help me and a therapist who gave me 8 sessions and done. I said I really still need help due to debilitating symptoms (can’t stop crying 24 hrs a day, constant panic attacks, can’t function, etc) and she put me in WEBSTAIR – the self-paced online skills program. The doc who was my ‘guide’ for the program was super nice and gave me another 8 weeks after I completed the program bc I’m still not in good shape. Then she left and I had to ask for another therapist bc they said basically – look, you’ve had your therapy, you need to be better now.

So I got another therapist who said I can’t be in therapy forever, but she’ll give me another 8-sessions even though I’m using appointments other veterans could be benefiting from. We’re now at the end of those 8 sessions and she says I am now done. No more. Endsville.

I am now able to suppress it and only cry when I think about things which I can avoid using distraction. And most of the time I don’t think I’m responsible for & deserved everything that’s happened to me in my life. That’s my progress. But I don’t feel like I’m done – I can’t imagine living another 50 years feeling the way I do, and I can’t fix my brain when I can’t even see what’s wrong in my head. I can probably afford 1x therapy session per month on my own $$ but it chaps my a$$ that the VA refuses to provide this care for a service-connected disability. I’m 100% for the PTSD/mental health due to the depth of my breakdown.

I’ve sent out a plea for help to my senator but I’m pretty sure, after reading all the info on the VA sites, that the VA doesn’t offer long-term therapy for PTSD, so I’m $crewed. Looking forward to suggestions/advice from anyone who knows anything.

Those with untreated PTSD/depression: did it ever get better?

I’m going on 5 years and have seen a therapist a few times and ditched therapy for numerous of reasons and I have noticed that I have a habit of lying and saying I’m okay but in reality, I’m super sick. My mental health went untreated for a good 3 years till I got hospitalized and started to seek help. I ditched the help because I was going back through that cycle again. I have a bad habit of avoidance and seeking help because I just don’t feel comfortable asking for it.
 
To be honest, the depression and suicidal thoughts graduated into severe anxiety/full blown panic attacks and having violent thoughts and outbursts. I lived a life of I had nothing to lose and I had no fear of going to jail. I’m actually surprised I’m not in jail. I’ve been listening to podcasts which have been very therapeutic and part of me thinks I need a outlet to stop me from having these thoughts.. I’ve heard even though it could get better, you will always have these thoughts, almost like it’s a plaque in your brain. I’ve been planning for the future and I think fishing and hunting could help me be less intense from having these bad thoughts. Part of me feels like it’s hard to be cured because I ignored my mental health and mind. I used self avoidance as therapy. I tried pills and therapy and they always gave me horrible side effects.

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

Sponsor a Family

 

 

 

 

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black star for soldier suicide