One Marine’s Battle with the Silent Wounds of War
The vision for Coffee Bunker is one growing out of tragedy. Like a flower which sprouts mysterously from hard, unyielding rock, SOS and Coffee Bunker are emerging from a devastation which is hard to imagine could bear anything of life.
Daniel Yusef Ligon was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and at age four moved to Cairo, Egypt, with his parents, older sister, and younger brother. At 13, Daniel and family moved to England, then when he was 16, to Beirut, Lebanon. At 17, Daniel returned to Tulsa, stayed with his grandmother, and graduated from the Advanced Placement program at Union High School. He completed his freshman year in University of Oklahoma’s Honors College, then enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.
At 19, Daniel entered Boot Camp at San Diego, and ultimately was based at Twenty-Nine Palms, California. He deployed twice to Iraq, serving both deployments in and around Fallujah. Being an Arabic speaker, Daniel was regularly with Iraqis, and was often invited for dinner and tea, which he greatly enjoyed. He played key roles in rescue operations, freeing Iraqi civilians who had been captured and tortured by insurgents. At times they were starved, dehydrated, and utterly broken mentally. Daniel’s job was to care for them, calm them, feed them and get them to treatment. Daniel was proud and fulfilled to play a part in these rescue missions.But, on June 10, 2007, Daniel’s life-juices finally, completely drained. His pain, exhaustion, and increased hopelessness, his depression, PTSD, isolation, and despair — all took their toll. That Sunday evening, at the age of 24, one more Marine, one more precious son, brother, husband, and friend was lost to the silent wounds of war.
Honor Bunker and Coffee Bunker are a passionate response not only to the death of one Marine, but to the heart-breaking, unprecedented numbers of our service members who are literally dying faster by suicide than they are in combat operations. Coffee Bunker is a place where they can connect with each other, where the community can thank, honor, and serve them in a REAL way, where they can find the support and the resources they need, and through which renewal of body, soul, and spirit can occur through the friendship, support, opportunities, and activities offered to our troops and their families.
The cry of my heart is, “No more Daniel stories! No more suicides among our troops! No more families losing their troops to the hidden war within!”
I wonder… would Daniel be here today, if Coffee Bunker had been here yesterday?
Fighting for our troops,