To the editor: On March 23, 2016, my cousin, PFC Martin Rosenswipe lost his battle with PTSD. Each and every day 22 Veterans and 1 Active Duty Military Personnel take their life. As a Nation, we should be standing up and fighting for these men and women who give so much for our freedoms. We should be honoring these men and women as the heroes that they are, instead of giving excuses for why their memory is not honored.
On Memorial Day, Prairie Haven Cemetery hosted a Memorial Day Service to honor the fallen men and women of our country. During this ceremony, two wreaths were placed on the graves of two of our servicemen who lost their lives in battle. My cousin, who is also buried out there, did not receive a wreath. When I asked the cemetery why he did not receive a wreath, they responded it was because my cousin did not pay the ultimate sacrifice.
While I never want to dishonor the deaths of these two servicemen who gave their lives so selflessly for our freedoms, I feel that my cousin should have also received a wreath as well because while he did not die in battle he died while serving our country. Memorial Day is a day that is meant to honor those men and women who died while serving and there is no specification on the way in which they died in order to be remembered.
We must stand up and fight together to stop this tragedy of our Veterans and Active Duty Military Personnel taking their own lives, and we must start speaking up to let them know that they are not alone. I stand for the 22, do you?
Donna Rippey, Pekin