Protecting those who protect us

Protecting those who protect us

Veterans salute a memorial in Northport Village on Memorial Day. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

Assimilating back into everyday life is one of the hardest jobs that we ask of those in the military. Returning home to a normal routine can’t be comfortable for anyone who just spent years in a combat situation, having to kill — or assisting those who are wounded. Unfortunately, incidents like the one at the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center, where a veteran took his own life in the hospital parking lot, are not uncommon.

Thankfully, events designed to gather as many veterans in the same place in an overwhelmingly positive setting are also becoming the norm. Army veterans Frank Lombardi and Chris Levy paddled kayaks from Bridgeport, Connecticut to Port Jefferson Aug. 27 — a 22-mile trek — in the name of raising awareness for veterans with post traumatic stress disorder. On the same day, the Veterans Comedy Assault Team hosted a night of stand-up comedy performances to benefit a veteran and her family who needed some extra assistance.

That comedy team is the brain child of a 501(c)3 nonprofit called Project 9 Line, which is an organization dedicated to reintegrating veterans back to civilian life and helping those suffering from PTSD.

Depression and suicide among veterans is a significant societal problem. Events like the two this weekend serve a major purpose, though they cannot be the only plan of attack. It is the responsibility of all citizens of this country to keep an eye on their neighbor, friend or relative to make sure they don’t feel like they’re alone. Military operations are always carried out by teams. Better treatment of veterans returning home should be a team effort among those they protect.

For more information on veteran support organizations: