One day, Jesse Kidd opened the paper only to find another story about a veteran that had taken his life. In the article, the reporter had also highlighted that the average number of veterans who commit suicide had risen to eighteen per day.
Kidd said that reading this touched his heart and left him feeling grieved and concerned. So, he decided to be more vocal about his war stories and his own personal afflictions moving forward. He fought in World War II as a Browning automatic rifle man (BAR man).
Kidd was a part of the Mars Task Force, and worked with many other soldiers to recapture Burma Road, the main supply route into China. It was a long, tiresome, and grotesque battle that Kidd had difficulty sharing. He told me that the battles and the war affected him in such a way that he had a hard time reentering civilian life, though he and the other men had dreamed about it the entire time they were gone.
After returning from the war, he struggled with depression, anxiety, and nightmares for a long time. Kidd was not the only soldier experiencing emotional difficulties after the war. In the ten years that followed 1945, he would lose six acquaintances to suicide, as they could not deal with the haunting of the war.
Kidd said that whenever he learned about another serviceman committing suicide it felt like a grievous loss that was hard to accept; a loss for which he could find no logical reasoning. Out of his six acquaintances that took their lives, one was an aunt and the other had been an uncle. For Kidd, suicide was never an option or a way out of dealing with his emotional grievances.
While it was a difficult transition, filled with painful memories, he found strength in God’s grace and sought a mission in life that consumed his thoughts and energy. Kidd felt that it was best to find a reason to live than to die. Later on he became an auxiliary member of a military unit in Brazil, where he would serve as a missionary for 30 years. Kidd relayed that missionary work was God’s gift to him, that it became his reason to keep living.
What Jesse Kidd wants other veterans to know is that they are not the only ones going through emotional difficulties. He wants them to know that there are support groups where they can share their experiences and feelings. Most important of all, he wants other veterans to know that it is better to find a reason to live, than a reason to die.