I had the privilege to travel to Arlington National Cemetery last week at the invitation of a family I first met on a story in January. Their son, Sumner, committed suicide after receiving a medical discharge following his tours of duty in Iraq. On Friday, he was interred at Arlington with full military honors.
After the burial, the family laid a wreath in his name at the Tomb of the Unknowns. In 2004, when Sumner, his father, and his cousin were all active-duty military, they had participated in the same ceremony together. This time, his mother stood in his place.
The small piece of good that has come from this story is that Sumner’s parents have been invited to participate in a Pentagon task force. His family feels the military is truly listening to their concerns about addressing the mental health of young veterans and is committed to helping.
(Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)