The Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs (ADVA) honors and remembers the veterans in Alabama who lost their lives to suicide annually through Operation We Remember.
Operation We Remember serves as a visual reminder that suicide knows no boundaries. The campaign includes an American flag display representing the veterans who died by suicide the previous year. It takes place statewide during the month of September, which serves as National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
In September 2023, the display will include 143 flags to honor and remember the 143 Alabama veterans who died by suicide in 2021. In 2022, there were 152 flags for veterans lost their lives to suicide in 2020.
For this campaign, ADVA partners with the Alabama Department of Mental Health (ADMH) and colleges and universities around the state. Student veterans associations who participated in Operation We Remember in 2022 were the University of Alabama, Auburn University, Troy University, Jacksonville State University, University of North Alabama, University of Montevallo, and Shelton State Community College.
“Suicide prevention is an important conversation that should always be on the forefront of our minds and we strive for Operation We Remember to assist in that goal,” said ADVA Commissioner Kent Davis. “It is never an easy or enjoyable to talk about suicide or suicide prevention, but we hope this visual display will show the reality of how many Veterans have those invisible wounds and help create impactful, long-term change.”
ADVA plans to hold a news conference on Friday, September 1 on the lawn of the Alabama Department of Archives and History to announce the 2023 campaign. Commissioner Davis and ADMH Commissioner Kimberly Boswell are scheduled to give remarks.
“Supporting our veterans with mental health resources that are accessible and compassionate is crucial. Nearly 18% of individuals who die by suicide in Alabama are Veterans. Through resources such as 988 and the Crisis Centers, we hope to help Alabamians find help, begin the path to recovery and save lives,” said Commissioner Boswell.
You can learn more about Veteran suicide prevention by clicking here.