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Woman commits suicide at Arlington National Cemetery

Confederate Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. (Arlington National Cemetery/Released)
April 17, 2019

An unidentified woman took her own life at the Arlington National Cemetery this week.

The Arlington County Fire Department responded to the scene on Monday involving the suicide of a woman that reportedly took place on the cemetery’s west side near the Confederate Memorial, Arlington Now reported.

Details about the woman have not yet been provided.

“Arlington National Cemetery was deeply saddened to learn about the apparent suicide in the cemetery earlier this afternoon. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time. We thank our first responders for their quick reaction and support to the incident. ANC and Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall will continue to support the family during their time of need,” the cemetery posted on social media Monday afternoon.

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CDC’s most recent data showed that 45,000 suicides took place in 2016 and were the 10th leading cause of death among Americans, but the second leading cause for the 10-34 age group.

The cemetery suicide comes amid an epidemic of veteran and military personnel suicides. with the most recent three taking place at VA centers in a span of just five days.

Some have speculated that the setting of the recent suicides is significant. Of the VA suicides, some say the veterans were failed by the very place that was supposed to help them.

“Many of these suicides appear to be protests of last resort, where healthcare systems, treatment programs, and the underlying cultures of the responsible federal agencies have failed them,” AMVETS National Executive Director Joe Chenelly wrote in a letter to the VA, Department of Defense, and Department of Health & Human Services.

The 75-year-old veterans organization American Veterans (AMVETS) sent the letter that called on the agencies to conduct an “immediate multi-agency investigation into the suicide epidemic among veterans and service members.”

“We can no longer view these suicides in the abstract, from a statistical perspective, and merely lament its prevalence,” Chenelly wrote. “While we realize the Defense Department and VA are comprised by a fragmented series of units and facilities where these lives were lost, AMVETS considers it a national crisis at this point.”

“We can no longer accept that ‘20 suicides a day’ is the norm and approach this crisis with passive resignation,” Chenelly added.

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Approximately 20 veteran suicides occur each day, a rate 1.5 times more frequently than civilians, the New York Times reported this week.