This Fall we have continued our discussion about a proposal for a memorial to veterans who have taken their own lives as a result of the “hidden wounds” of war. We have talked about the various forms that the memorial could take and the scope of it as well (local, regional, statewide). Since we have worked with the Cape and Islands Suicide Prevention Coalition before, we are planning on asking them to consult with us on this project. We will be meeting with their leadership at our December chapter meeting to begin a dialogue with them about this memorial project.
I early September, members of the chapter participated in the 2017 South Shore/Cape Cod”Out of the Darkness” Walk for Suicide Prevention, highlighting the shockingly high suicide rate amoung veterans. That morning we were honored to be joined by Joyce and Kevin Lucey as we walked in memory of Cpl. Jeffrey M. Lucey USMCR and all of the other victims of the “hidden wounds” who have lost their lives to suicide. Later that same week, the chapter was once again a part of the Coalition’s ribbon ceremony for remembrance and hope on National Suicide Prevention Day.
Veterans Day this year was a double-header - on November 10th we marched in the main Barnstable town event as usual (and this year we were the largest single veterans contingent in the march!). Then the next day several of us participated in the “First Annual Barnstable Veterans Town Hall” cosponsored by the town and the Cape and Islands Veterans Outreach Center. Veterans Town Halls are a concept created by Sebastion Junger, journalist, author and veterans advocate and supported by our Massachusetts Congressman Seth Moulton, Marine and Iraq veteran. The idea was to provide” a chance for veterans to tell the community what it felt like to go to war” and about a dozen combat vets from Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan each gave 10-minute testimonies. It was a well-attended and very powerful event that vividly conveyed the true costs of war in stark relief. We think it will become an annual event in the town on Veterans Day.
And finally, preparations are getting underway for our Chapter’s 23rd Annual “Voices of Peace” Poetry Contest which begins early in 2018. We are very proud of this event and its evolution into a well-known and well-loved part of Cape Cod’s yearly educational, artistic and peacework agenda.
In September, members of VFP Cape Cod participated in the 2017 South Shore/Cape Cod “Out of the Darkness” Walk for Suicide Prevention, highlighting the shockingly high suicide rate among veterans. VFP Members walked in memory of Cpl. Jeffrey M. Lucey, USMCR for whom the Cape Cod Chapter is named. Shown (l to r) are Billie Stewart; Joyce and Kevin Lucey, Jeffrey’s parents; Duke Ellis; and Carole Williamson, co-chair of the “Out of the Darkness” walk.