Flags displayed as awareness for veteran suicide

LONDON, Ky. (WTVQ) – In London, one woman is making an effort to lower the death rate of those returning from war. She says she lost her husband after he committed suicide, and she didn’t see it coming.

660 American flags have been placed in the ground right off South Main Street in London. They’re there in attempt to raise awareness of veteran suicide.

For Lora Strother, the flags hold messages of loss, sadness and hope. She says her husband, 25-year-old Sergeant Eric Strother, committed suicide in 2006 after being deployed. She says she never once thought that he had Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“When he came home, we didn’t know what PTSD was,” said Strother. “It wasn’t as big back then as the awareness has thankfully gotten today. I didn’t know the signs to look for, so when he did stuff like that, the things he was doing, I just thought he has to adjust to being home… never thought PTSD… never thought he would commit suicide.”

It’s because she didn’t know the warning signs of PTSD that she is working to spread the message now. She did fundraising and purchased the flags to show a visual representation of veteran suicide.

There are 22 flags per row that represent the 22 veterans that are lost to suicide per day. 30 rows are there that represent the 30 days in a month. There are 660 flags total that represent the number of veterans who commit suicide per month.

Strother says several veterans have already messaged her, showing thanks for the flag display.

In support of her efforts, Lauren County Judge Executive David Westerfield gave Strother a proclamation declaring September 9 through 15 Veteran Suicide Awareness Week in London.

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin is also on her side, declaring September Veteran Suicide Awareness Month in Kentucky.

The flags will stay up until September 30.

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