The Letters

Lance Pilgrim, an Army veteran who was among the first soldiers deployed to Iraq in 2003, died of an overdose Aug. 18, 2007, just six days before his 27th birthday. Lance became addicted to powerful narcotic pain killers — opioids — prescribed to him by his military doctors after treatment for a broken finger. Lance’s story was part Austin American-Statesman’s report on the disproportionately high rate of death by recently discharged veterans in Texas resulting from suicides, toxic drug overdoses and vehicle crashes. (Jay Janner / American Statesman)

The Letters

The Military Suicide Report is calling on families of veterans and service members who have died from suicide to speak out.

Suicide is painful and destructive. For too long suicide has also been shrouded in secrecy, covered up in many instances. The destructive nature and human impact on friends, families and loved ones goes mostly unnoticed by our society.

The Military Suicide Report wants to help inform readers and educate the uninformed and the disinterested just how painful it is for families who lose a son, daughter, brother or sister in such a painful, senseless way.

One way to do that is to share The Letters.

By publishing the last words of suicide victims, we believe the issue will take on new and powerful meaning. The human face of military suicide is often lost and greatly depersonalized in just the statistics and numbers alone.

Publishing The Letters will help others understand that when someone takes their own life, they are more than just a number on a graph. They are human.

Our citizenry, lawmakers and government leaders must be exposed more directly to the human toll of military suicide. For many, suicide victims are simply just too easy to ignore, as long as they remain only numbers on a briefing chart.

For family members concerned about privacy and yet still wish to contribute the suicide letter written by a loved one here — but not reveal the suicide victim’s name or other personally identifiable details — those details may be redacted.

Something must change to end this ongoing and needless loss of life. Please submit letters here and they will be published “as is” on this page in order received.

Suicide victims must be given a voice.

Our country, our people, our leaders must know the truth.

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