Brian Mast is more than the congressional representative for Florida’s 18th district.
On this Veterans Day, the veteran, a Purple Heart recipient and a double-amputee submitted a call to action for all Americans celebrating those who have sacrificed much for the country.
“In September 2010, I was at the top of my field, working as an Army explosive ordnance disposal expert in Afghanistan. And then a bomb exploded beneath me,” he began in a piece published on Fox News.
Mast called himself “one of the lucky ones” as his injuries are easily identifiable. However, he urged Americans to remember that many scars remained hidden from the naked eye. Mast continued, saying “Rarely a week goes by that I don’t get a call from a veteran who is struggling with suicidal thoughts.”
He spoke of a bill he recently introduced in Congress to help combat post-traumatic stress:
One way we can support these men and women is by passing a bill that I introduced earlier this year called the Oath of Exit. Working with those who have experienced the weight of post-traumatic stress firsthand, I and others wrote the Oath of Exit to be a strong step forward in doing all we can to prevent even one more veteran from harming himself or herself.
“The Oath of Exit creates a voluntary pledge for members of the armed forces to ask their brothers and sisters in arms for help – and to provide help when called upon,” he explained, before citing suicide statistics from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
In 2016, the department reported that 20 veterans commit suicide every day on average, while veterans were at 21 percent higher risk of committing suicide. Mast praised President Trump’s administration and Congress for making “supporting veterans a top priority,” referencing some pieces of legislation already introduced in the House.
“This Veterans Day, my request of all my fellow Americans – beyond celebrating the amazing patriots who have defended America in an unbroken line since 1775 – is to remember that not all injuries of war look the same,” he began to conclude. “Many don’t look like anything. Take a moment to thank the veterans in your life this Veterans Day, but more importantly, speak with them, really connect with them and let them know you’ve got their six.”
Mast was elected to the United States House of Representatives last November.
Since that time, he made the news for attempting to have a local Veterans Affairs office hang up a portrait of the current Commander-in-Chief, which is President Trump. Mast also spoke openly about the lessons he learned when he lost both of his legs to an IED.
In September, Mast called for the NFL players to stand for the national anthem following weeks of protests.