Veterans

To commemorate Veterans Day, the American Homefront Project talks with former service members about their time in the armed forces.

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.


The last American was drafted in 1973, but the U.S. maintains an elaborate infrastructure to re-activate the draft if Congress ever decides it's needed.


UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt (second from left) meets with service members May 20, after announcing two new university programs to serve current and former military personnel.
Melanie Busbee/UNC-Chapel Hill

UNC-Chapel Hill becomes the 11th public university in North Carolina to open a  campus veterans center.

The Huntsville Times/Steve Doyle

Veterans advocates, protesters, and even President Obama have cited the statistic that 22 veterans a day kill themselves. But the reality is complex, and the number can be misleading.

A picture of the NCNG logo.
North Carolina National Guard

The N.C. National Guard will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II with a ceremony Friday honoring 16 members of the 30th Infantry Division.

Six soldiers from the division were awarded the Medal of Honor for their service in World War II. Then-General Dwight Eisenhower's staff ranked the 30th as the top infantry division in the European theater.

Its contemporaries still honor the division.

Harnett County Courthouse
Gerry Dincher / Wikipedia

The Harnett County Veterans Treatment Court is looking for volunteers to help veterans navigate the legal system.

The Veterans Treatment Court assists former service members who have committed minor misdemeanor crimes. Mentors are now working with 20 veterans, and 10 more are expected. But only nine mentors are enrolled.

A picture of the fireworks yard sign.
militarywithptsd.org

Some combat veterans are posting signs in their yards, asking neighbors to be courteous with their fireworks this July Fourth weekend. The signs come from a non-profit called Military with PTSD, and it's sending them to vets across the country.

Christine Weber is a former Marine with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder who lives in Charlotte. She says sudden loud noises, including fireworks, remind her of gunfire and rocket launchers during her deployment in Iraq.

A student veterant leaning over his desk.
Carly Swain / UNC-Chapel Hill

Fifteen military veterans are wrapping up a week-long academic training bootcamp at UNC-Chapel Hill designed to help them transition easier into college. It's part of a national program called the Warrior-Scholar Project.

Lara Taylor, director of Carolina's orientation, says some vets come straight from service, while others have been out for a few years.

Jay Price/WUNC

Most people expect their eternal rest will be peaceful.

But not the ones who want to be buried in the Eastern Carolina State Veterans Cemetery now under construction in Goldsboro.

North Carolina’s newest veterans cemetery is right under the flight path of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. On some days, the roar of low-flying fighter jets and aerial tankers overwhelms the cemetery every few minutes.

A field of flags outside the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville, NC.
Gerry Dincher / Flickr/Creative Commons

It's Memorial Day: A holiday when many residents gather to remember those who died while serving in the US Military.

Communities across the state have their own way to honor the fallen.

Thomasville

Joe Leonard organizes the annual parade in Thomasville. He says they take the event one step further.

Gloria Hoeppner and her husband Earl Kornbrekke at their home in Friday Harbor, Washington. Heoppner, a World War II veteran, is trying to use a new Veterans Administration program to seek medical care closer to home.
Patricia Murphy

A $15 billion federal program intended to improve veterans' health care is off to a rocky start, and some members of Congress are calling for significant reforms.

The Veterans Choice program is supposed to help vets get timely health care, sometimes closer to home. Nearly 9 million veterans received identification cards in the mail from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  About 460,000 have tried since it began in November.

'I'm Not Broken'

Feb 6, 2015
John and Cassie Rice
StoryCorps

John Rice graduated from East Chapel Hill High School and went to college but he dropped out to join the Marines Corps. Rice insisted on infantry, and was assigned to a special operations unit that deployed to Iraq in 2008. Three months into his tour, he was injured.

He told the story to his wife Cassie at the StoryCorps booth in Durham, North Carolina. 

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