During a recent Veteran's charity fundraising gala, much like the hundreds of galas that occur year round, something significant happened: At a point in the show the emcee asked all attendees from a certain group of Veterans in the audience to stand and be recognized...not a single person stood in spite of their presence.
It's been five years since Jacob Sexton, a soldier with the Indiana National Guard, came home with nightmares after two combat deployments, and on a Monday evening in a movie theater with family and friends, killed himself with a pistol shot. He was 21-years-old. The story is horrifying, and sadly familiar. On this day, we pause to honor the 21.9 million living Americans who have served in uniform. We might also remember the estimated 8,000 veterans and 475 active duty, reserve and National Guard men and women who took their own lives last year in the ongoing tragedy of military and veteran suicide. Jacob's death, like the others, could have been prevented.