By Debbie Gregory.
Chester Bennington was one of those guys: enormously talented but deeply troubled. The 41-year-old father of six struggled with alcohol and drug addiction, and had previously talked about suicide as the result of childhood trauma and abuse.
Linkin Park bandmate Mike Shinoda said that the band had always felt “a special bond with the military.”
In 2014, the band teamed up with Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America to call attention to the suicide crisis that dramatically affects American service members and veterans.
“It is an honor to meet with you guys, the men and women of the armed forces, who protect our freedom every day,” Bennington told fans during a performance in Denver during the band’s Carnivores tour. “The greatest country in the world and it’s because of men and women who go out and risk their lives for all of us … no matter who we are or what we believe in.”
To give a startling visual impact, the group displayed 22 American flags to symbolize the estimated number of U.S. veterans who take their own lives on a daily basis.
Bennington’s death occurred on what would have been his good friend Chris Cornell’s 53rd birthday. Cornell, best known as the lead vocalist for the rock bands Soundgarden and Audioslave, committed suicide on May 18th.
“My whole life, I’ve just felt a little off,” Bennington said in an interview. “I find myself getting into these patterns of behavior or thought – especially when I’m stuck up here [in my head]; I like to say that ‘this is like a bad neighborhood, and I should not go walking alone.’”
Our sincere condolences go out to Bennington’s wife Talinda Bentley and his six children.