Former Vice President Mike Pence took part in a horse-riding event Saturday aimed at raising awareness of veteran suicides.
Pence joined BraveHearts, an equestrian therapy nonprofit group for military veterans, at the event in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Military.com reported. The group uses the riding and care of horses in therapy for veterans suffering with depression or other emotional troubles.
The former vice president praised BraveHearts for their work addressing wounds "that can’t be seen with the human eye."
"They are the burden of the heart and the mind that over generations in America have really gone unspoken of," Pence said. "But I’m proud to say now we’re recognizing as a nation the unseen injuries of our heroes."
Pence posed for pictures with residents and spoke at the end of the ride, according to Military.com.
About 30 horses and riders followed the 20-mile route, Military.com said.
The Washington Examiner reported that 580 service members took their own lives in 2020 — an increase from the previous year, according to the Department of Defense's annual suicide report released last month.
DOD's tally did not include the many veterans plagued by mental health issues, the Examiner said.
The seven living former Veterans Affairs secretaries sent a letter last week urging Congress to pass a resolution that would designate Nov. 21 as the first annual "National Warrior Call Day," the Examiner said.
Pence and former President Donald Trump have been strong supporters of military members and veterans.
In a speech at last year's Republican convention, Pence credited then-President Trump for rebuilding the military, fixing the Department of Veterans Affairs, and strengthening America’s national security.
"We’ve taken the fights of radical Islamic terrorists on our terms on their sites," Pence said. "We’ve stood up to our enemies and we've stood with our allies."
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