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Local Vietnam veteran brings awareness to staggering statistics

Posted at 10:16 PM, Sep 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-18 01:16:27-04

TUCSON, Ariz. -- A local Vietnam veteran is helping others heal by sharing positive stories about the war.

To this day, David Davis refuses to shed light on the bloodshed that the war brought, as he feels this only causes more pain to veterans.

As it stands, the number of Vietnam veteran suicides is staggering. More have taken their own life, than have died in the war. Today, veterans gathered at the Oro Valley Public Library to not only share their stories, but to also send a message that the community can step up to help them heal.

“There's nothing glorious about war, but there were some wonderful human beings who participated,” Davis said.

In fact, he is the first to say that veterans will never forget what they lived through.

“The things that we witnessed, the things that were real, they will never leave...they will never leave us,” he added.

At this point, he wants people to focus on the bravery, not the bloodshed as he believes this mindset makes things a little bit easier.

“I want to remember that Sergeant Pelfrey stayed two months so that the G.I's could have a good meal, I want to remember Specialist Byrd that had the courage to go out in the jungles and not have a weapon because he believed that he shoudn’t do that,” Davis told KGUN9.

Now he shares these stories from time to time, to give veterans and those affected by the war a safe space to heal; just like a veteran helped David heal by simply thanking him for his service.

“I can honestly say it took away every bit of the anger and every bit of the hostility I felt.”

A meaningful gesture that, according to David, could save a life.

“About 58,000 men and women were killed in Vietnam. It's estimated that nearly 100,000 Vietnam veterans have committed suicide,” Davis added.

He says that is an incredibly large number for any veteran of any war, and urges people to be mindful of how vulnerable they can be. His message to people is the following:

“So stop. Look a veteran in the eyes and say thank you for what you've done for this country.”

Just to put things into perspective, those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are committing suicide at a faster rate than veterans from the Vietnam era.