The 4th of July represents the birth of this Nation. Each year, we have the opportunity to reflect upon the sacrifices made by millions of Americans to protect these freedoms and recommit ourselves to these rights. I am, and remain, committed to the values of this nation. Not the flawed version we demonstrate each day, but the aspirational values we hope someday to make our reality.
This 4th of July, our Nation has begun to slowly emerge from the shadows of isolation brought on by this despicable virus. We are now reclaiming our independence, but mindful of the depression, anxiety, and uncertainty that plagued so many of us for well over a year. Our country– the world– was at war against a virus, and for the first time in this modern generation, the average American had a taste of what it might be like to be on the front lines, separated from all they love and facing an enemy of which much is unknown.
With normalcy returning, it feels like we are all emerging hopeful, but also a bit battered by what we’ve been through. Our Veterans understand this and well remember the challenges associated with their post-deployment transitions back into civilian life. For many this is when they become most vulnerable, and already this year we have seen a 25% increase in suicides for our active duty Service Members. We also know that there must be a similar spike in our Veterans. Each hour of the day we lose a warrior to suicide, a person who had already sacrificed greatly for this Nation. They also leave a wake of destruction and despair, and the families of our fallen must try to rebuild their families and move forward on their own.
We all need to celebrate our personal and national independence this 4th of July, but I would ask you to please take a moment to remember those who have served and all those who remain ready to give their lives in defense of this great nation. Their fight doesn’t stop, and neither will we at Home Base. We remain ever committed to healing the invisible wounds of war for Veterans and Military Families, through world-class clinical care, wellness programs, education and cutting-edge research. But we can’t do it alone. It is only thanks to the generous spirit of this community that we are able to care for our Veterans and their Families. And, like many people and organizations over this past year, Home Base suffered financially, and we need your help now more than ever.
To further demonstrate our Post-COVID Independence we are announcing that we will all come together as a community at Fenway Park on Saturday, September 25th for the Run to Home Base presented by Raytheon Technologies The Run is a unique 9K run and 5K run/walk through Boston, ending with each person crossing Fenway’s famed home plate. Friends and family watch from the stands, sampling food, entertainment and family activities in the concourse. Proceeds from the Run to Home Base are crucial to sustain our comprehensive mental health services throughout this and the coming years. This year, Home Base and the Boston Red Sox Foundation will honor and recognize black Veterans during the pre-game ceremony on 9/25.
The fundraising minimum is $500 for adults and $100 for children, with exciting incentives for those who fundraise above and beyond. Celebrate freedom this 4th of July by supporting those who protect it. Help us keep our Service Members, Veterans, and Military Families safe. Together, we will do everything we can to prevent these courageous men and women from becoming another statistic.
With the deepest respect and gratitude for your support, I wish you a happy and healthy Independence Day. Let freedom ring!
Brigadier General USA Ret.
Executive Director, Home Base