Here’s another surprise: the president doesn’t send condolence letters to families of soldiers who’ve committed suicide. According to cnn.com, a review of this policy is to conclude “shortly.”
I hope that’s true and that the Obama administration changes this policy. Such a practice adds to the stigma of suicide. I’m trying to be charitable and try to imagine why such a policy would exist in the first place. After all, I imagine that these condolence letters, as kindly written as they may be, are probably form letters. Perhaps it’s harder to write a form letter about a suicide. Also, I can see how it may seem that a soldier who is killed in combat, by enemy fire, may seem to have made a greater sacrifice. But with the extreme burden our soldiers are under currently, what with back-to-back tours, extended tours, etc., who is to say that they’re not making an extreme mental and emotional sacrifice? I would not be surprised to find out that such situations make soldiers all the more fragile, mentally and emotionally.
May the Obama administration recognize this, and recognize the families whose loved ones have taken their lives while serving our country.