Veterans Suicide Memorial Unveiled In Nation’s Capitol ArmyJ May 27, 2013 News 31 Comments Follow Duffel Blog: WASHINGTON, D.C. — A controversial new memorial was unveiled in the nation’s capitol Monday, after Congress reallocated $2 billion in funding from veterans benefits and post-traumatic stress counseling to approve “The Armed Forces Suicide Memorial” nearly two years ago. The monument — a 25 foot high granite table topped with a fifth of Jack Daniels whiskey, an open bottle of pills, and a loaded pistol — was erected in memory of all military personnel who have committed suicide on active duty or under the medical supervision of the Armed Forces. It will sit immediately adjacent to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and features a chronological listing of names, starting with Corporal Thurston Carver. Carver, a Minuteman from Groton, Mass., stood on top of a tree stump in 1776 and used his toe to fire a shot from his five foot long musket into his mouth. Family members of soldiers to be featured on the memorial were very supportive. Nancy Wilder, mother of 23-year-old Private Horace Wilder, expressed quiet satisfaction with the unveiling. “Of course my little Horace is a hero, and he deserves to be up on a wall just like all the rest of those people,” said Wilder amidst tears. “In high school he saw the movie Universal Soldier. That was the day he told me he wanted to join the Army, deploy to a combat zone at least four times in one enlistment, develop soul-crushing PTSD, and eventually take the hard way out.” Wilder continued, “Unfortunately, once he joined it was hard to make friends. In his letters and twice-weekly phone calls during basic he told me that the drill sergeants were absolute animals, waking him up at 5am for pointless exercises and screaming sessions. He was so miserable.” Wilder’s son took his own life two days before his basic training graduation by jumping from the roof of the post hospital after sneaking away during sick call. “I’m just so glad our politicians and military leaders were looking out for him and all the other veterans,” Wilder said. “Now he’ll be remembered forever.” George Hargrove, a Sergeant Major in the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y., was honored to know at least two troops that killed themselves. With 22 veterans committing suicide every day, Hargrove says, “he’s hopeful there will be more to come.” “I’m just glad to see the military finally stepping up to recognize these outstanding soldiers,” Hargrove told reporters. “I remember one time we had a guy in my platoon shoot himself with his SAW. The guy could never hit anything on the range, so needless to say we were amazed he was able to finally hit what he was aiming at. That’s the kind of perseverance that this monument is all about.” “We had another guy — about eighteen years old — drink some bleach when he found out his high school sweetheart was cheating on him while he was at basic training. I guess he showed her!” While the move was still being hotly debated in the halls of Congress, support for the memorial came from a wide range of influential personalities, including Gen. (Ret.) Eric Shinseki, who currently heads the Department of Veterans Affairs. “First, I just want to say that I forgive all the soldiers who killed themselves on my watch for what they did, and are continuing to do to my career,” Shinseki said. “And I think it’s great that we’re going to honor our fallen soldiers like this. Combat, accident, or suicide — all deserve the same level of remembrance. Every soldier that heroically takes his own life saves the VA billions in counseling, medical bills, and record jacket destruction costs.” Shinseki told reporters that he hoped the completion of the memorial would honor fallen heroes and further glamorize the act of suicide. “If just four percent of our military veterans would take their own lives each week we could reduce the average processing time for living veterans’ benefits from 24 months to 23 months,” Shinseki said. “It’s a win-win.” One unresolved issue is the move to place an additional panel on the monument to honor fragged soldiers and officers. If approved, it would feature a hand grenade and a bloody set of Second Lieutenant bars. The National Capital Parks and Planning Commission will hold a hearing on the fragging panel in early FY2020. Andrew Franklin says: January 3, 2014 at 2:54 AM Dark. Dave Powell says: January 3, 2014 at 2:54 AM Not funny. Michael Janssen says: January 3, 2014 at 2:54 AM fuck you guys I’m out! Doug Cabarle says: January 3, 2014 at 2:54 AM You guys used to be funny. Bryan McDonald says: January 3, 2014 at 2:54 AM Not really sure what to think about this one. Johnathan Leonard says: January 3, 2014 at 2:54 AM It’s funny, but I just can’t laugh at this today. Eric Elliott says: January 3, 2014 at 2:54 AM I love Duffelblog, but I think this one crossed the line. Douglas Blimm says: January 3, 2014 at 2:54 AM Seriously… you idiots have crossed the line. Bryan McQuirk says: January 3, 2014 at 2:54 AM The reason this hits too close to home is because it smacks of too much truth. Joc No says: January 3, 2014 at 2:54 AM I love your page; this was not funny at all……………… Scott Newell says: January 3, 2014 at 2:54 AM haha is this an attempt to haze veterans to not commit suicide through chastising them? Mike Harris says: January 3, 2014 at 2:54 AM these heros are going to cut down the call waiting time make my VA experience more enjoyable. thanks for lookin out fellas! Ron Chausse' says: January 3, 2014 at 2:54 AM I’ve been a big fan of the site for a long time, but this is the first article I found to be in bad taste. Suicide is not a joking matter. I am not amused. John Jackson says: January 3, 2014 at 2:54 AM The guys who write duffelblog have had thier brothers in arms commit suicide too. Joseph Smith says: January 3, 2014 at 2:54 AM Dark, but needs to be spotlighted. Instead of bitching at db, call elected officials to burn va a new ass till the do something to help. Tea Bird says: January 3, 2014 at 2:54 AM Where to start…. I’m pleased there is acknowledgement and awareness that soldiers taking their own lives and suffering from PTSD is an issue that needs attention and resolution. However taking $2B out of those treatment programs for a memorial!?? Isn’t it tough enough with constrained budgets to find appropriate funding for the needed treatment programs?? AND if we realize soldiers need more support shouldn’t we be rethinking what we are exposing soldiers to in the first place and perhaps try to minimize the impact upfront while also providing treatment to those that need it?? While a memorial might be an appropriate idea, must we take such a substantial amount of funding out of much needed treatment programs to do so?? Sigh … I will try to trust this process, it just sounds very skewed and missing a critical point that something needs to be re calibrated if so many soldiers are needing support. There is something skewed with the way we are fighting wars. We need to rethink a lot. I hope this memorial succeeds at not only bringing more awareness, but inspires action that will make required changes. If nothing changes, this will be a blow of insult to those that are injured that need that $2B for treatment programs. Daniel Barton says: January 3, 2014 at 2:54 AM Oh shit ……..they went there. John Marcus Smith says: January 3, 2014 at 2:54 AM This article is possibly the best so far, but could you not have waited a few days? Michael Anglemyer says: January 3, 2014 at 2:54 AM It is black satire and sometimes the truth hurts. It is gallows humor to be shared among those who have been there. It wouldn’t be appropriate for The Onion, Bill Maher, etc. Notice that the real butt of the jokes are not about true PTSD/TBIs, but basic training washouts and the failure to adjust crowd. Jonathan Persons says: January 3, 2014 at 2:54 AM I normally love the Duffelblog, but this is one topic that should not be made into satire. Mock LT’s, Officer’s wives, CSMs, military “logic”, and anything else that you want, but this is the one thing that is not a laughing matter. Carl Beutler says: January 3, 2014 at 2:54 AM Happy Memorial Day! May the people we love and defend misunderstand us and use our memory to justify their own agendas for many more years to come. Doc Bailey says: January 3, 2014 at 2:54 AM well Fuck my couch. I dunno guys This one hits a little too close to home. Don Hand says: January 3, 2014 at 2:54 AM I enjoy the Duffelblog. Usually you are right on the mark with your satire and humor. However, nothing about this subject is humurous in any way, shape or fashion. Please, consider the opportunity you have wasted with your forum to heal with humor, and bring smiles to veterans and servicemembers. Why would you choose to hurt those that serve with this? Evan Stratton says: January 3, 2014 at 2:54 AM This post doesn’t keep in theme with the normally high quality of work produced by The Duffel Blog. While humor and satire is appreciated amongst the military this is too far. This isn’t even a joke as this is a very real sad tragedy for many service members. Way to mock them for not being able to fight their demons or not getting the proper help they needed. Mark Stolzoff says: January 3, 2014 at 2:54 AM Stand by for a Shitstorm of Butthurt unlike which has never been seen. Jonn Lilyea says: January 3, 2014 at 2:54 AM No, see, I get it, where many of your numbnut readers don’t. The media and the anti-war groups are acting like the military establishment doesn’t care, but that’s not true at all. Sure it’s not a funny subject, but I see a lot of people using these lost troops as their own props, as a source of income for their little groups of beggars and strap hangars. As many of you have pointed out, there’s nothing funny about suicide, but there’s also nothing to be gained by trumpeting it and making heroes out of the guys who take their own lives like many of you fucking civilians do to line your 4F pockets.Where the fuck were you pieces of shit when those guys were fighting their asses off? Where were you when they came home? Why is it you only show up for them like CSI after the deed was done? Why did they think that they couldn’t count on you when they only wanted to come home and be like you? And how many of you hippie fucks thought the theme from M*A*S*H was funny? Chris Fleisher says: January 3, 2014 at 2:54 AM I saw a lot of barbs aimed at the SecVA, VA itself, and senior NCO’s for their absolute cluelessness. This problem has gotten out of hand, and no amount of yellow ribbons will fix it. This is humor for those constantly getting ignored, despite the full-court PR press. Those that have taken their own lives are just as much a casualty of war as those shot or blown up in combat. The Nation needs to take notice, and look for a MEANINGFUL way to combat this issue. “”That was the day he told me he wanted to join the Army, deploy to a combat zone at least four times in one enlistment, develop soul-crushing PTSD, and eventually take the hard way out.””. Jaime Benavides says: January 3, 2014 at 2:54 AM What if? What if there was a move to establish a National Veterans Suicide Memorial? Would people be more incensed by the notion of such a memorial or would they be moved to ACTUALLY do something about these seemingly forgotten warriors? Sometimes, it takes guts to bring something that everyone does not want to talk about into an open forum for public discussion. How easily we forget the Cpl Clay Hunts, James Keenans, and Capt Peter Linnerooths. All of them true heros, who lost the battle with PTSD. I applaud Duffleblog for bringing this into the open, especially today, when we take a moment to remember those who lost, and in this case, took, their lives while serving our country. This isn’t a selfish act, it isn’t to be swept under the rug, it isn’t a disease we should be ashamed of. We need to honor ALL of our warriors. Both those who died on the battlefield, and those who died at home. James L. Crabtree says: January 3, 2014 at 2:54 AM I am a veteran and I know I am going to get flamed for this but here it goes. This article is the shameful truth. The treatment of veterans by the civilian government and people that never served is downright astonishing. In job hunting, I have actually been discriminated against for being a veteran by so-called “professionals”. For a long time, I even took it of my resume. I have it easy compared to many veterans though. Luckily, I am not dealing with that Mongolian fustercluck known as the VA right now. Josh SixNine Gore says: January 3, 2014 at 2:54 AM Yeah, the VA is a load of crap atm. Oh, you say you’re suicidal? That’s fine, we’ll help you out. Don’t worry. Just head on down to the local hospital for a psych evaluation we’ll refuse to pay for until collection agencies start calling you, and then go see this therapist once a week that we will also make you pay for. Sure, none of this will get you a job or bring your wife back, and you’ll soon be getting a letter in the mail saying your own government thinks you’re too batshit and unstable to own a firearm, but remember, WE CARE.