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A Call To Arms: Suicide of America’s Veterans Declared As Tragedy

Posted on Tuesday, November 13, 2018 at 4:18 pm

Dr. James Tucker, of Hannibal, speaks to attendees of the 2018 Veterans Day assembly at Bowling Green Middle School. Tucker, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, trained Iraq’s civilian police force during his time overseas. In his presentation on Friday, Tucker discussed the need for mental health reforms within the Veterans Administration, including increased access to mental health providers. Tucker said in his remarks that these reforms are needed to combat the increasing number of veterans dying by suicide.

By Ethan Colbert

After performances from the Bowling Green Middle School choir and band, Dr. James Tucker took to the podium to share how Veterans Day had taken on a new meaning for him since his return from Iraq and since becoming a physician with Hannibal Regional Medical Group.

“Veterans Day gives us the time to reflect in reverence for those who have served before,” Tucker said during in school wide assembly at Bowling Green Middle School. Both veterans and students attended the assembly.

“To honor those who have preserved the liberties that we hold dear,” Tucker continued. “As a physician, I have sat and heard stories from soldiers of all ages, but recently, it has been the soldiers of the great generation. I have held the hand of many, telling them that their fight on this Earth has come to an end.”

Tucker says it is during time of reflection that he recalls his time in the Sunni Triangle region of Iraq, when he led 54 military personnel from community to community training Iraq’s civilian police force.

“Sadly, while I brought all 54 soldiers home to their families, eight years later, one of my soldiers was tragically taken from his family, by his own hand, when he took his own life,” Tucker said.

The decorated military veteran then went on to describe how since 1999 more American military men and women have died due to suicide than in combat.

“Every veteran suicide is a tragedy,” Tucker said.

***For more on this story become a Bowling Green Times subscriber or pick up a copy of the November 14 print edition.***

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