Happy Memorial Day. I wish you a healthy, patriotic celebration of those who have given their lives in service of our great nation and to promote democracy around the world. But I also hope you will pause to remember that some who serve and return home still struggle with great loss — often unable to resume civilian life as they once knew it after injury or trauma sustained during their tours of duty.
Yesterday’s Indianapolis 500 was not only the greatest spectacle in racing and the largest single-day sporting event in the world, it was also a great spectacle in celebration of Memorial Day. A parade of military leaders in red, white and blue trucks, recognition of the 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor bombing and some of its survivors in attendance at the race, and a giant two-piece variation of the American Flag were but a few of the event’s nods to this important holiday.
Lady Gaga was on hand for this momentous event.
I was thrilled to be at the 500, and proud of the reminder that my own father died serving our country as a naval pilot.
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The Chicago Vets Ruck Of Honor 22 mile hike wearing 22 pound backpacks from Veterans Park in Glencoe to Milton Lee Olive Park vividly reminds us this Memorial Day Weekend that 22 vets per day die from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Suicide as they march down Sheridan Road. #MemorialDay #Veterans #veteransuicide #veteransuicideawareness #ptsd #glencoe #makeitbetter @makeitbetterns @chicagovets @chicagoparks
Just two days before the race, the “Ruck Of Honor” marched past my Wilmette home. Chicago vets wearing 22-pound knapsacks marched 22 miles from Glencoe’s Veterans Park to Chicago’s Milton Lee Olive Park in order to raise awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder and veteran suicide, reminding us that that 22 veterans and active-duty military members commit suicide every day.
Today, a front page New York Times article, Those With Multiple Tours of War Overseas Struggle at Home, also chronicles struggles that returning vets face.
As you enjoy this holiday, along with the comforts and privileges of our American lives, please be mindful of Americans who are struggling to reengage in our society after serving and look for ways to help them.
For more information or to donate, go to chicagovets.org.