Dear American Legion Family and Friends,
In my year as national commander of The American Legion, I can think of no greater goal than to reduce the number of veterans who die by suicide each day.
I made this a priority during my speech when I accepted the honor of being elected commander during our 103rd national convention last week in Milwaukee.
“My platform and No. 1 priority for my year as national commander will be tackling the toughest challenge facing veterans: veteran suicide,” I said in my acceptance remarks. The American Legion is asking you to ‘Be the One’. And by you, I include every one of us, military and civilian alike. We all need to ‘Be the One’ to begin thinking, talking and acting to save just one life.”
What does it mean to Be the One?
For a veteran, it means reaching out for help to assist a loved one, or calling a help line in times of crisis. The new 988 emergency suicide hotline is a valuable resource. You can also chat online at this webpage or text 838255.
For a spouse, family member or caretaker, it means recognizing when the veteran is struggling and getting them the help they need. You are in a position to not only see the risk but have the trust of the veteran in his or her time of crisis.
For fellow veterans, friends and other civilians, it also means being proactive to get the veteran the help they need. Don’t assume someone else will act. Take the initiative.
In the coming months, National Headquarters will roll out resources, stories of how posts and members are demonstrating how they are working to minimize the veteran suicide rate. For now, you can find additional information here. I also encourage you to listen or watch The American Legion Tango Alpha Lima podcasts this month as they are all dedicated to the topic of suicide prevention. The episodes are published each Tuesday morning and can be found here.
As part of this initiative, I encourage you to share how you or your post is promoting Be the One, supporting programs that help those suffering from PTSD and similar initiatives. Share your stories on our Legiontown website.
Together, we can all make a difference in the lives of veterans. That is why The American Legion is known as …
Veterans Strengthening America.
The American Legion