At the time I wrote the column below, news had not broken about the massive and devastating explosion at the fertilizer plant in West, Texas. Of course, all of my condolences and commendations about the victims and crisis care community in Boston I extend with profound correlations to my own heartbroken neighbors in Texas. One television news report estimated that 700 first responders were deployed immediately into action there. Let no one say the selfless and sacrificial American spirit isn't alive and well!
As with others across the nation, my wife, Gena, and I are so proud of the first responders and host of rescuers, medical personnel, law enforcement personnel, firemen, military members, crisis counselors and good Samaritans who immediately were called into action and undoubtedly saved lives, limbs and souls because of their heroic efforts. Truly, America's best shine brightest during our country's most difficult and darkest moments.
At the same time, Gena and I join the rest of the nation in offering our most heartfelt condolences and prayers for all the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. We weep in particular with the families of 8-year-old Martin Richard, 29-year-old restaurant manager Krystle Campbell and a Chinese graduate student at Boston University, Lu Lingzi, all of whom were killed by the blasts.
In the end, the criminal thugs who are responsible for such heinous, despicable and cowardly acts win only if we allow their monstrous beings to intimidate us into fearful and recluse lifestyles, including not participating in public recreational and sports activities such as the Boston Marathon.
We, too, pray for the families, relatives and friends of the victims, who we know will, in due time, rise up, find the courage to face tomorrow and build a better day for themselves and others -- just like the parents of the 8-year-old victim, one of whom serves as the director of a local community group and one of whom works at Neighborhood House Charter School, where their daughter attends classes just as their son did.
Speaking of wounded healers, I recently was reminded of a troubling health trend among U.S. wounded warriors. More than 600,000 troops have returned from tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan with traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder, resulting in increased rates of drug abuse, alcoholism, domestic violence, chronic depression and even suicide among service members, according to Fox News. Tragically, about 22 veterans commit suicide each day in America, according to a February report by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. That is nearly one every hour!