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'Somebody's there for them': Local veteran hosting informal gathering for those who have served at War Memorial Center

Posted at 6:02 AM, Sep 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-10 19:35:07-04

An Iraqi war veteran calls it a veteran's health emergency. He warns that the commemoration of 9/11 and recent events in Afghanistan could lead to a surge in suicides by those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So, Ben Singleton is extending an invitation to any veteran and their families who find themselves in pain.

Singleton decided to enlist in the armed forces in high school. He's featured in an award-winning film series, "Veterans Journey Home."

"I would struggle with this feeling of just wanting to die," says Singleton.

He enlisted at 18 years old. He was angry after witnessing the devastation of September 11th.

"It gave me such clarity of what I wanted to do after I graduated."

Singleton served 2 tours in Iraq. He admits, the end of the war in Afghanistan and the 20th anniversary of September 11th have been tough.

"The past few weeks it felt like a storm," he admits.

Singleton was a paratrooper and sniper in the Army. He's battled thoughts of suicide, depression, divorce, and alcoholism.

He says many vets have been traumatized witnessing the recent events in Afghanistan.

"The sharpness of this collapse has ripped open a scar for most American veterans."

So Singleton is inviting veterans who need to talk to join him at Milwaukee's War Memorial the morning after September 11th,.

He chose September 12th, because he knows in the past, that day has been difficult for him.

"That has led me at times to feel in a dark place to do things like reaching for alcohol and not get out of bed."

"I'd like to give veterans a place to go in the morning to know somebody's there for them. They won't be alone and they will face that day together. So, what I'm proposing is an informal meeting of veterans at the War Memorial Center at sunrise till noon on the morning of the 12th."

Ben Singleton is inviting veterans to join him, share stores and support each other. He requests that veterans refrain from political conversation. He just wants to give those who served, a chance to support each other as they wage a new fight for personal peace.

Singleton insists, "For me, I draw a lot of strength from my community."

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