Memorial Day Weekend: President Barack Obama shares a moment with newly commissioned ensigns during commencement at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., May 20, 2015. (Official White House Photos by Pete Souza)

Memorial Day: War and Peace, Soldiers and Sacrifice
PHOTO: President Barack Obama shares a moment with newly commissioned ensigns during commencement at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., May 20, 2015. (Official White House Photos by Pete Souza)

MEMORIAL DAY, 2015. Every generation has their war.

We thank our soldiers and their families for there service and sacrifice, during times of war and peace.

If you want to understand what’s going on with today’s generation of fighters and their families, Sebastian Junger’s piece in Vanity Fair will blow your mind.

…Suicide by combat veterans is often seen as an extreme expression of PTSD, but currently there is no statistical relationship between suicide and combat, according to a study published in April in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry. Combat veterans are no more likely to kill themselves than veterans who were never under fire. The much-discussed estimated figure of 22 vets a day committing suicide is deceptive: it was only in 2008, for the first time in decades, that the U.S. Army veteran suicide rate, though enormously tragic, surpassed the civilian rate in America. And even so, the majority of veterans who kill themselves are over the age of 50. Generally speaking, the more time that passes after a trauma, the less likely a suicide is to have anything to do with it, according to many studies. Among younger vets, deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan lowers the incidence of suicide because soldiers with obvious mental-health issues are less likely to be deployed with their units, according to an analysis published in Annals of Epidemiology in 2015. The most accurate predictor of post-deployment suicide, as it turns out, isn’t combat or repeated deployments or losing a buddy but suicide attempts before deployment. The single most effective action the U.S. military could take to reduce veteran suicide would be to screen for pre-existing mental disorders. …

Vietnam was the war for my generation. Tragically, we’re still repeating the same political mistakes.

…and tell me again why we have troops in so many places in the world?

We remain a nation misguided by politicians, most of whom don’t serve, with the majority talking a lot about “the troops” without ever really thinking about the political costs of votes that send them into action without a way of coming home.

War in the 21st century has no winners.

No parades.

No actual end.