May 24, 2014
A few Charlottesville organizations are raising awareness of veteran suicide rates in America.
According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, 22 veterans commit suicide every day.
Local artist Tom Givens created a tree with 660 blank dog tags representing the number of veterans who commit suicide each month.
The Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice and the Veterans for Peace were stationed on the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville to discuss the issue.
One veteran, who served in the Iraq War says he wants to help others who may be suffering.
“I wouldn't say the normal reach out, I would say reach in and find something inside that you can devote yourself to that's bigger than you,” says Evan Kappenberger, president of the Veterans for Peace Chapter 171.
They want to raise awareness for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, brain injuries as well as moral injuries, which can lead to thoughts of suicide.
The tree will be on display on Monday for Memorial Day with hopes that more people can learn about ways to prevent veteran suicides.