Field of the Forgotten Fallen Honors Service Members Lost to Suicide
September is Suicide Awareness Month and Veterans Services in Tioga County is doing their part to remember those who lost their life.
The Field of the Forgotten Fallen honors those who served our country and returned but ultimately lost their life to suicide.
"The rows before you were not perfectly straight, just as the path they traveled on was as they tried to cope with life," explained Michael Middaugh, Director of Veterans Services in Tioga County. "The flags are not all erected tall. Some are bent as represents their lives as they struggled each day to combat the pressures of their wounds.
Every day 22 service members die by suicide, that's one 154 a week, 660 a month, 8,030 a year.
For every one lost, 135 loved ones are left behind to pick up the pieces. Loved ones like father Rick Neild who lost his son, Tim.
"Our freedom is not free. I paid the price of losing my boy. He paid the price by doing his duty.
The flags represent those lost but also served a place for their loved ones to grieve and as a call to action.
"It takes all of us to put our hand to the plow and to push with our shoulder to ensure that no more flags are seen," said Vivian DeCohen, Commissioner, State Department of Veterans' Services.
The flags will be up through the end of the month.