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Thursday, December 18, 2008

In Their Boots: 'The War Within' Segment Covers Military Suicide

The ever-enlightening webcast series In Their Boots ran the heartbreaking story of Jeffrey Lucey -- a Marine who'd served during the initial invasion of Iraq and returned home safely only to commit suicide less than a year later, on June 22, 2004. He would be among the first wave of OEF/OIF suicides, leaving his parents, Kevin and Joyce Lucey, to be on the leading edge of the senseless pain now known to hundreds of military families.

While some suffer in silence -- a choice that is certainly to be fully respected and understood -- the Luceys were among the first to come forcefully forward to sound the alarm on the issue of suicide and our returning troops. Their story was again presented in a two-part In Their Boots segment, "The War Within," this month that I wasn't able to post on due to my finals.

[The Luceys were also generous enough to share their story in Moving a Nation to Care.] From In Their Boots:

Kevin, a therapist in Connecticut, and Joyce, a retired nurse, are the parents of three. Jeffrey was their only son. Ever since Jeff lost the battle with his PTSD, Kevin and Joyce have been advocating for the establishment of a realistic and efficient healthcare system, especially for veterans dealing with invisible wounds, like post-traumatic stress disorder. Part of that advocacy involves a lawsuit they've filed against the Veterans Administration for medical malpractice and wrongful death. [other lawsuits]

Dr. Judith Broder, Director of The Soldiers Project, joins the Luceys in the first episode (which ran on December 3), and Paul Sullivan, Executive Director of Veterans for Common Sense, adds his knowledge to the discussion to the second (which aired December 10). The videos are now up on YouTube.

For some reason, the YouTube audio is not working for the first segment; please view Chapter 1 at the In Their Boots site (you can also view Chapter 2 along with supplemental clips).

Chapter 2 - Part 1

Chapter 2 - Part 2

Chapter 2 - Part 3

Such suicides after a loved one has safely returned from combat are especially painful. My thoughts, evergreen as they have been, are with the Luceys and the hundreds of other military families whose lives have been pierced by this unique burden.

You are not forgotten.

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