American flags brings veteran suicide awareness to WSU

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Across Wichita State University you will see hundreds of american flags. Over the last week and a half the WSU Student Veteran Organization has been walking through campus placing 22 flags each day. Each one represents the number of vets who die by suicide daily.

“We are doing this for 16 days to come up to a total of 352 flags total and that represents year-to-date active duty suicides,” said Jarred Novak, Vice President of SVO.

Although students are passing the flags, many do not know the meaning. “I had no idea and they’re doing it every day, 22 flags. I think it could be helpful to get more awareness out there,” said WSU student Michael Malmquist.

Each flag has a dog tag and card with the Veteran Crisis Line number attached.

“Even if someone doesn’t come forward hopefully they get some use out of that card and people are able to reach out and get help,” said Levi Schenk, President of the Student Veteran Organization.

The goal of the project is to raise awareness about the veteran and military suicide rates and start a conversation with students.

“It does have some weight to it cause you don’t see it on the news. You don’t see it on the you can say trending page on Twitter; I mean no one talks about it,” said WSU student Alex Limon.

Organizers are encouraging students to take pictures with the flags and use #SVO22 for a chance to win a drawing and help pass along the message.

Organizers hope the display encourages someone to reach out to a veteran they know. “Veterans can be stubborn people. They don’t just go out and get help, so it never hurts to reach out and check on your fellow human being,” said Schenk.

Students will continue to place flags across campus until Veteran’s Day on Monday. If you or someone you know is in need of help the Veteran Crisis Line is 1-800-273-8255.

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