USM Center dedicates memorial to veterans who died by suicide

A “Suicide Awareness and Remembrance (SAR)” flag and granite marker were placed at the Center for Military Veterans, Service Members and Families.
Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 10:31 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - A new memorial at the University of Southern Mississippi remembers veterans who died by suicide.

A “Suicide Awareness and Remembrance (SAR)” flag and granite marker were placed at the Center for Military Veterans, Service Members and Families earlier this month.

“We average up to 22 suicides a day for our veterans, which, if you do the math, that’s about one suicide every 65 minutes,” said Jeff Hammond, director of the USM Center for Military Veterans, Service Members and Families. “It’s serious, it’s sad and it’s almost epidemic in my heart and I just wanted to do something to call to mind, to call attention to what’s happening here, because there are so many families who are suffering through this.”

Missouri Air Force veteran Kevin Hertell designed the SAR flag in memory of a family member who took his own life.

The flag now flies in 32 states, including Mississippi.

“For us to do our part, as far as raising awareness of suicide and actually remembering them, I think is important, it’s important looking back in that regard and important looking forward,” said Michael McGee, veteran outreach director for USM.

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide or would like emotional support, then call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255. Information on resources and suicide prevention is available here.

If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support

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