Run, Don't Walk

Nov 24, 2015
Adele Levine used to work in physical therapy at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Adele Levine

When Adele Levine decided to become a physical therapist, it wasn't because she felt a higher calling. She wanted a good job with decent hours and a comfortable wardrobe. 

After she graduated, she took a position at Walter Reed Army Medical Center--the nation's leading medical facility for amputee veterans. Her patients were some of the most severely injured in the nation's wars. Levine and her patients found camaraderie and friendship, often using dark humor to cope with their dark days.

As traditional veterans organizations like the American Legion and VFW lose members, younger vets are gravitating toward dozens of smaller, more specialized groups that offer a social outlet and opportunity to serve.

A veteran is honored at Fort Rucker
Fort Rucker / Flickr Creative Commons

For many veterans of World War II and Vietnam, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion posts were popular social gathering places to share stories of war experiences. And they were powerful lobbying voices in the political sphere.

But across the nation, participation in these organizations has declined. Veterans groups are making new efforts to recruit younger members.

Soldier saluting
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

People across the state are honoring those who served in the military on this Veterans Day.  There are parades and ceremonies in many communities and other events where veterans get to tell their stories of service. 

Cornell Wilson, Jr. is the Secretary for the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs for North Carolina.  He says it is always important to thank veterans for their service.

"We have roughly 800,000 veterans in this state, a combination of retirees and those that just got off active duty and they are a very vital part of our community," says Wilson.

Groups like the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars have served former service members for a century. But declining membership threatens to lessen their influence.

As more military jobs are opened to women, Congress may face the question of whether to require women to register for the Selective Service.

A sailor embraces family and friends before leaving Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, for an independent deployment to the western Pacific Ocean
MC2 Tiarra Fulgham / Wikipedia

RTI International is studying whether a family-skills building program can help military families thrive as a parent transitions into and out of deployment.

Senior Project Manager Jessica Nelson says deployment puts unique stress on a family.

A U.S. Army Air Forces plane flies over 'The Hump' in the Himalayan Mountains in 1945. Many U.S. planes crashed in this area during World War II due to the terrain.
United States Army Air Forces / Wikimedia Commons

Hundreds of U.S. aircrafts were lost during World War II along a remote military supply route in the Himalayas called the Hump. The treacherous terrain caused hundreds of World War II service members to crash, scattering their remains along the region.

For decades, families have waited for the lost veterans' remains to return to the U.S., but a border dispute between India and China has stalled military search efforts from recovering the remains.

The Rise Of ISIS

Oct 28, 2015
Washington Post reporter Joby Warrick goes in-depth into the beginnings of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
Marvin Joseph / The Washington Post

In the late ‘90s, there was a group of very dangerous Islamic radicals in Jordan. They were such a threat that the country had reopened an abandoned prison in the middle of the desert as a way to isolate them from spreading ideas to other prisoners.

Peter Janse of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, examines one of the engine of the B-24 Hot as Hell in Arunachal Pradesh, India in 2008.
JPAC/Jesse M. Shipps

A U.S. recovery team has returned to a remote part of India to try to retrieve the remains of troops killed in World War II. Family members say a border dispute between India and China has delayed recovery efforts for years.