If you didn’t know there is a suicide epidemic going on in the US right now well, I didn’t know either.
That is, until my good friend and videographer Mike Quinones asked if I would contribute a song to his film about PTSD-related military suicide called “Wounds of War.” Being involved in Mike’s project creatively and emotionally opened my eyes to this tragedy.
According to a report released by CNAS entitled Losing the Battle: The Challenge of Military Suicide, Army suicides have climbed steadily since 2004. Between 2005 and 2010, the authors estimate a soldier took his/her own life every 36 hours. Though only 1% of Americans serve in the military, this small population constitutes 20% of all suicides in the US.
In “Wounds of War”, Mike uses my original version of “Ave Maria” to underscore the tragedy of combat trauma and PTSD. If you have 5 minutes, watch this film – I feel it is well worth it.
The fact that Mike uses “Ave Maria” to underscore these after-effects of the War makes a sobering full-circle effect because I originally wrote “Ave Maria” for the one-year anniversary of 9/11. This was when Americans’ hearts were full of fiery determination as we were just beginning the invasion into Afghanistan and Iraq. Now, here we are, on the other side, and we are all seeing the consequences.
“Ave Maria” is a song for healing, a song for reflection. It is for mourning our loss and it is for holding on to hope. In the version I wrote I’m singing in Latin. Here is the translation:
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art Thou amongst women and blessed is thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
For more information on military issues, including PTSD, visit these sites: