Speech By Melissa Mack the First Selectwoman of Suffield
I am honored to speak today on Veterans Day not only in tribute to all who have served out country, but also in remembrance of William Robert Davidson. Will's fight, which began in Afghanistan but continued at home, reminds us of what Jose Narosky somberly notes, "In war, there are no un-wounded soldiers." It is with Will in our hearts and minds that I speak to the Suffield community this Veterans Day.
You have heard the startling statistics that each day in our country 20 veterans commit suicide. As a nation, we clearly are not doing our part to help returning servicemen and women transition back to civilian life. A transition that is fraught with challenges including reconnecting with family, friends and their community, finding new employments, housing and securing needed services like health care, including mental healthcare.
I ask the Town of Suffield, "what can we do to change this unacceptable situation?" Mother Theresa tells us, "Never worry about numbers." Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you." And so our work starts in Suffield, in memory of Will, and under the guidance of HIS devoted mother, Donna.
Donna envisions, and I support, forming a database comprised of Suffield families with soldiers away from home, Suffield veterans who have served our country and community members who have committed to helping support our veterans in ways big and small. When our local servicemen and women return home, these volunteers would help facilitate housing, jobs, or just offer a good listening ear. This network could immediately provide sorely missing structure and resources with the goal of engaging these young men and women back into our community. By these minimal efforts, simply caring for one another, we will continue to make Suffield a welcoming place for all of its residents.
On Veterans Day we remember the words of the late President John F. Kennedy, "As we express our gratitude we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." Please stay tuned for more on how you can participate in this most needed and urgent undertaking.
I end by thanking all of our country's veterans, you have sacrificed so much for our freedom. As a female First Selectman, I am truly grateful for what YOU and our Flag stand for. I know that many of the places in which you have served would never allow me, a female, an opportunity to lead a Town. For this and countless other reasons, I sincerely thank you all.