Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Memorial Day Event Honors Those Lost To Suicide

Veterans at this morning's sunrise service in Missoula honoring those lost to suicide
Eric Whitney
Veterans at this morning's sunrise service in Missoula honoring those lost to suicide

Among the dozens of Memorial Day observances in Montana Tuesday was one of a type that just got started last year. Sam Redfern with the United Veterans Council and United States of Hope was the master of ceremonies for the event that got started at 6:30 a.m. at the Western Montana Veterans Cemetery in Missoula.

"This service is really dedicated to start out the day, to all of our fallen warriors, but specifically those who’ve lost their lives to suicide, and those who took the battle home with them," Redfern told those who came. 

Under a low ceiling of deep grey clouds, about 40 people stood to hear prayers from local Rabbi Chezky Vogel, and the reading of the 23rd Psalm by a member of Missoula’s refuge community who wanted to thanks U-S Military personnel serving in Congo.

Veterans from US service branches laid wreaths honoring those who served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. State Senator Al Olzewski gave a short speech.

Sam Redfern said he had a message for veterans who are struggling with thoughts of suicide.

"Keep hope, keep faith, don't quit, and you're loved. You're deeply loved. There are many organizations in our community made up of vets, veteran led, that will talk to you peer-to-peer. If you're struggling with your family, if you're struggling through the pain, we've been there and we want to be there for you."

Help is available via:

Eric Whitney is NPR's Mountain West/Great Plains Bureau Chief, and was the former news director for Montana Public Radio.
Related Content