Mark Graham was a career soldier. He served in the United States Army for more than twenty years. He had two sons and one daughter. His younger son committed suicide while in the ROTC in college. His older son died in the war in Iraq. One considered a weakling. The other considered a hero. This book is about the Grahams’ efforts to change the way the military and the public view suicide among service members.
I honestly cannot comprehend losing any of my children. Let alone two of them. That is exactly what happened to them. Their younger son was depressed. He was so worried about the military and ROTC finding out that he was taking Prozac for depression that he quit taking the medication. He never told anyone how he was feeling. Then it was too late.
I know the stigma that this society attaches to psychiatric disorders. In the military, it is ten times worse. Any expression of emotion is considered by many soldiers and commanders as showing signs of weakness. Until that attitude changes, the enormous suicide rate among service members will continue to grow at rates much, much faster than the general population. The Grahams are working from the inside out to change the military’s perception of PTSD and suicide.
This was a hard book to read. Mostly because it covers such an enormous loss. But it is also a book that give your hope. The Grahams are extraordinarily strong and resilient. They have faced this devastation with a determination to fight and change the system that helped cause it. It is a book that everyone should read as we tend to ignore those around us who have given a little less than the ultimate sacrifice during war, but end up doing so later.
I received this book from Blogging for Books. I received no compensation for the views that are expressed herein. The views expressed herein are my own.