On Monday, May 28, the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park will be showcasing renderings of a new memorial dedicated to men and women veterans who have lost their battle to PTSD. Often times, when we think about military memorials, we think about dedications to those who lost their lives in the line of battle. Well, many military personnel lose their lives after the battles are long over. For some, the battles never end, until life itself ends. That is why it is important to recognize and remember the contributions of those who ultimately lost their inner battles due to issues directly related to PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
20 veterans a day take their own lives. At one every 65 minutes, suicide is now the leading cause of death among American military members. This outranks war, cancer, heart disease, homicide, transportation accidents, and other causes combined.
A ceremony will be held, coinciding with the presentation, from 10:00AM to 12: 00 PM at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park. The ceremony will open with an honor guard from Hutch Tech’s JROTC, followed by words from Chaplin Brian Will of the Masonic War Veterans, and full military honors.
Speaking will be:
- Dr. Mark Donnelly who will give opening remarks and try to put context to the Veteran suicide problem.
- Derek LaClair, a close friend to Captain Peter Schank, one of the fallen, will put a face on the issue. Captain Schank was a member of the Army Nation Guard with several deployments in Afghanistan. He, unfortunately, brought a piece of the battle home, and on February 17, 2016, saw taking his own life as the only way to escape the pain of living.
- Steven R. Bunch, MA, MS, LTC, USA (Retired) will give a military perspective and reflections on his graduate work on this subject.
- Keynote speaker will be Jill Murray, LCSW, Care Line Manager Behavioral Health Services – VA Western New York Healthcare System.
Following the final benediction, tables will be set up displaying resources and answering questions for combating PTSD from area veterans groups including: Veterans One Stop, WNY Adaptive Watersports, WNY Heroes, Veterans Administration, Lothlorien’s Way of the Warrior Program, Veterans One-Stop