In Christmas 1983, I was spending Christmas courtesy of the United States Marine Corps at the luxurious accommodations provided at the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, Japan. I was member of the Marine Air Support Squadron 2, nicknamed the “Pacific Vagabonds,” We were part of the Marine Air Control Group 18, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. It was perhaps the loneliest Christmas I had ever experienced. Personally, I had lost numerous family members and friends. I had just turned twenty years old. Life is a cruel teacher. And I learned my lessons.
Suicide is a major public health problem and a leading cause of death in the United States. The Veterans Administration reports that an average of 20 veterans succumbed to suicide every day. People who commit suicide often do not consider the emotional consequences for survivors, their families and friends. For depressed people, the holidays can be particularly difficult. We experience added stress, loneliness and reminders of those we have loved and lost. If you have thoughts of suicide please get help immediately, or call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) at 1–800–273–TALK (8255),24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When you next find yourself in need of help, please ask someone.
JC Bowman is the Executive Director of Professional Educators of Tennessee