22 US veterans take their life every day after coming home from combat, and now a national memorial for a non-profit focused on combating those numbers is in Broken Arrow. It is a cause first responders and veterans from all over the community are getting behind- in hopes of lowering staggering statistics and saving lives.
Behind this monument is a story. Someone's daughter, someone's son who came home from combat only to face battles inside their heads-- mental wars that became increasingly overwhelming. Each one of these monuments represents a soldier who committed suicide after returning home.
It is a traveling memorial- created by the nonprofit Mission 22. The art is one of the ways they raise awareness about veteran suicide and try and equip soldiers with the resources they need to fight some pretty serious statistics.
"They are given the tools to beat their memories, to beat their trauma that they faced," said a spokesman from Mission 22.
Getting mental health resources to veterans is a cause that hits close to home for the family of Sgt 1st Class Michael Bruck.
"It is a silent epidemic for these soldiers," said Michael’s sister Christine Holman.
His family says Michael was more than a decorated soldier. He was a man who loved deeply, who everyone could depend on, whose energy was contagious- and whose death last month has left a gaping hole in the lives of every person he touched.
"He did more in his short life than most people do in this lifetime," said Michael’s dad Bill Bruck.
Soldiers like Michael face enough war overseas and when they come home veterans, nonprofits like Mission 22 and Gold Star Families like Michael's are trying to make sure they have the resources they need to overcome the battles they will face at home- and survive.
"I am a veteran from Vietnam. It was different in my days, when we came back. It is great there is a lot of support nowadays," said Bruck, "It is a struggle getting the information out there."
The monuments are in storage until later on this year when they will be set up.
If you a veteran and you need help: