Feb. 7, 2013 at 9:57 AM ET
A 7-year-old has a simple message, relayed on four Post-it notes, that he hopes will reach troubled soldiers contemplating suicide.
“Ask for help!!!” writes John Murray Jr. in black marker, one Post-it note for each word and the exclamation points.
Statistics released earlier this week revealed that the suicide rate among veterans and active U.S. soldiers is 22 per day, almost double the rate of civilians.
“When they don’t have any broken arms or legs, and no blood, you can’t see the sadness inside them,” the boy explained.
John was moved to action after learning about suicide on a poster he saw at an Army medical center in Hunstville, Ala. The boy was passing time reading random words on the waiting room walls when he spotted the unfamiliar term.
“I asked Mom 'what's that ‘S’ word? She started walking fast,” he said. "And finally she bent down and said, 'That word is ‘suicide’ and it's when ... someone ends their own life.'"
The discovery prompted John to write a message directly to the troubled serviceman.
"There's other people that care about you and want you to ask for help,” the boy said.
John’s mother, Ingrid Murray, wrote about her son’s efforts in a letter to Army Surgeon General Patricia Horoho, who called the story beautiful and “a lesson for all of us.”
She then put the boy’s Post-it note story on the Army’s website.
"I don't think I've ever thought of it in those simple terms,” said the boy’s father, Sgt. John Murray Sr. “And maybe sometimes we try to over-analyze."
His son, meanwhile, has only one goal for his message: "It becomes true."