Wednesday morning I woke up to pure sunshine, hurried to get dressed, grab a cup of java and made my way to the outdoor deck to absorb the warmth for the sun's rays. But something was bothering me and I just couldn't seem to shake it. There wasn't a cloud in the sky, and yet I felt a big black presence sitting directly over my head. What was bothering me so? I tried to remember what I was doing just before going to bed last evening. I let the little puppy out for the last time that evening and I checked a couple of emails. There is was. A friend had sent me an email about a young troubled Veteran who had committed suicide.
Retired Master Sergeant, Chris Scheuerman was returning home after training troops at Ft. Bragg, N.C.. Seeing the black mini van and the chaplain Chris knew in his heart that the very worst had happened. He had lost his beloved son. Eventually they informed Chris that his son Jason had died from a self inflicted gun shot wound, but details were not forth coming.
Using the Freedom of Information Act it would take Chris two long years to find out the truth about his son, 1st class Jason Scheuermann of the 3rd Infantry Division and how he died only six months after deployment to Iraq.
In March 2005, the nineteen year old Jason told his father he was having a very difficult time coping with combat and was very afraid. Chris told his son that help was there within reach and not to be afraid to ask for it. Jason visited the Army Chaplain a month later, after having almost committing suicide. He was referred to the Army Psychologist, who gave him the standard tests. This was the moment when Jason could have been treated and possibly saved. That psychologist sent Jason back saying he could be feigning the illness. Jason might well have been suffering from headaches, flashbacks,tremors, sweating, nausea, nightmares, sensitivity to noise and other symptoms as well. Isolated, frighten and depressed Jason might well have believed there was no options left for him. I imagine this scene has been repeated many, many times. No one listens and the silence is killing many of our youngest and bravest. No more birthdays, more empty chairs at Thanksgiving and Christmas, more trips to the nation's cemeteries to say I miss you, more fatherless sons and motherless daughters. No more wars. Let them end. We need peace. We need to be a unified country again. But let the memories of all those we have lost stay forever young. And to all the families who gave the dearest price of all, remember you have a hold on heaven, because your loved ones are waiting there.