suicide

Veterans and family members at Tampa's American Legion Post 5 participate in a special Memorial Day ceremony for troops who died by suicide.
Bobbie O'Brien / American Homefront

Memorial Day can be especially difficult for relatives of service members who died by suicide. They often feel stigmatized, even around other military families.

Eric Fleming served as an infantryman in the U.S. Army. He fought in the first Gulf War, and is still suffering ill effects from combat.
John Ismay/KPCC

Eric Fleming served as an infantryman in the U.S. Army. He fought in the first Gulf War, and is still suffering ill effects from combat. John Ismay/KPCC

Starting Wednesday morning, military veterans began walking back and forth across Pasadena's scenic Colorado Street Bridge. Their goal: raise public awareness about the fact that 20 vets kill themselves in the U.S. every day.

The Colorado Street Bridge is a tragic icon - over the years, so many people have leaped from it to their deaths that it's earned the nickname "The Suicide Bridge."

Veterans advocates, protesters, and even President Obama have cited the statistic that 22 veterans a day kill themselves. But the reality is complex, and the number can be misleading.