Protect Our Defenders News Blog


A Memorial Day Message from POD Advisory Board Member Terri Odom

This Memorial Day weekend we are honored to share a message from POD Advisory Board member Terri J. Odom, a beloved leader in this movement for justice in our military and a steadfast advocate for veterans in St. Louis and nationwide:

Memorial Day isn’t about a BBQ or extra day off from work. It is a very solemn memorial day in honor of American heroes. Every day at least 22 veterans take their own lives. That is one fallen hero every 65 minutes. I looked at my cell phone contacts and realized 14 heroes on my contact list have taken their own lives. We know that our MST veteran population is at increased risk of suicide, so I want to take this opportunity to reach out with sincere condolences to all the family members and friends as well as mental health care providers whom have suffered the loss of a fallen hero from suicide. Being raped while serving your country is a lifelong battle. I personally still hurt as much, if not more, from the retaliation and loss of my beloved military career as I do from the rape itself. I’ve tried to take my own life more times than I chose to count. Some days still just don’t seem possible. But I am determined to finish my mission in the Good Fight! Advocating for MST survivors who I see and know the pain. Respectfully, I honor my brothers and sisters. Please don’t be one of the #22. Reach out! I’ll do my small part until I cease to breathe! May God Bless America and always look over our fallen heroes. Terri J. Odom