March Raises Awareness Of Veteran Suicide

Posted at 5:03 PM, May 30, 2016

A group of veterans, military members, and family members marched through Nashville this Memorial Day to bring awareness to the issue of veteran suicide.

"It's not a celebration at all," Aaron Lax, a retired captain from the U.S. Army and organizer of the march said of Memorial Day. "He (Kodie Mezzles) never says 'Happy Memorial Day' because it's not a day of happiness, it's a somber event." 

Every day in the United States an average of 22 veterans commit suicide, making it one of the largest problems facing veterans. 

"In 2013, I tried to take my life," Lax said. "I don't want anybody else to go through that again." 

The group of marchers wore rucks weighing 22 lbs. and marched 22 miles through the Music City.

The march was put together to raise awareness of the problem and to help raise money for Reboot Combat Recovery, a program focused on helping veterans adjust to the civilian life, and a program that helps veterans overcome their demons.

"Until you get some type of treatment or you deal with those inner issues, you're never really home," Kodie Mezzles, a retired staff sergeant, explained. 

Mezzles served his country for years, but he said the hardest time of his life was when his body returned to the United States, but his mind didn't. 

"I almost felt like I was constantly in Afghanistan in combat," Mezzles said. "I just wanted the negative thoughts to stop." 

Mezzles attempted suicide, trying to jump off his second story balcony to end the pain, but luckily his wife stopped him before it was too late. "It was after that I knew I needed help."

Mezzles joined Reboot Combat Recovery, which he said saved his life, and through the program, he has met other veterans who have similar experiences, like Aaron Lax.

"Difficult hardships create bonds," Lax said. "That's why we're here today, because we went through the same stuff, we all understand what we go through, and we're here to help each other work through those issues." 

Those who marched this Memorial Day hope their message will be heard, and hope their friends will be remembered.

"When you're grilling, when you're drinking your beverages or whatnot, just take a minute. Take a minute timeout, put the drinks down, put the food down, and just say thank you," Mezzles said. 

For more information on Reboot Combat Recovery and ways to donate, you can visit their website