Veterans

Zablocki Veteran's Administration Medical Center

The United States Department of Veteran’s Affairs provides government-run benefits for veterans and their families.

While the VA in its current form has only been around since 1930, the country’s history of providing for disabled veterans goes back to before the U.S. was even a country.

In 1636, the European settlers in the Massachusetts Bay Colony were at war with the Pequot tribe. The colony passed a law then that stated it would support any disabled soldiers from that war. And we have provided for our veterans in some form ever since.

Susan Bence

This year's Milwaukee Film Fest will feature the documentary Almost Sunrise, which chronicles the journey of two Milwaukee area natives as they struggle with deep emotional scars after tours of duty in Iraq.

Tom Voss and Anthony Anderson set off from the Milwaukee County War Memorial on October 30, 2013 to walk across the country.

Susan Bence

Monday to mark Memorial Day, veterans and people who support them will gather at 4th and Wisconsin, and parade to the War Memorial Center. The Milwaukee tradition dates back to 1865. After the procession, a wreath laying ceremony will take place at the reflecting pool.

Vietnam veteran Peter Pochowski is helping oversee the restoration of the structure. He serves as chairman of the board of trustees of the War Memorial Center.

: Wisconsin Veterans Museum

For decades, the Wisconsin Veterans Museum has been collecting the personal stories of people who've served in the military. They reflect on their time in uniform, the impact of their service, and their thoughts about it today.     

Some of the reflections the veterans share are intense, especially those recalling fallen soldiers. Other stories are mundane at first, before becoming dramatic.

NPR — together with member stations from across the country — has been reporting on troubles with the Veterans Choice program, a $10 billion plan created by Congress two years ago to squash long wait times veterans were encountering when going to see a doctor. But as we reported in March, this fix needs a fix.

Jerry Huddleston / Flickr

The Waffle House may seem an unlikely source of inspiration for chefs in a northern city like Milwaukee, especially when you consider there are no Waffle Houses in the state of Wisconsin. But the folks from Milwaukee Chefs for Homeless Vets are hoping the Southern-style fare will entice even the cheesiest of Cheeseheads to come out and support their cause. 

US Army photo

November brings Veterans Day, and also this year the fiftieth anniversary of the major battle in the Ia Drang Valley of Vietnam involving the U.S. Army 1st Cavalry Division. Casualty rates on both sides made this one of the costliest battles of that long war, and ironically reinforced the strategies of both Hanoi and Washington.

A decade later in 1975, Hanoi's overall approach was confirmed when North Vietnamese regulars overran the capital of South Vietnam, now Ho Chi Minh City, as the few remaining Americans evacuated.

Mitch Teich

When Al Exner looks back at his grandkids today, he’s shocked at how different their experience as 18-year-olds is from what he experienced when he was their age.

George Rex / Flickr

Military service was long seen as, if not a prerequisite, then certainly as a desired quality for people wishing to be President of the United States.  But in more recent years that attitude has shifted, and today only a minority of the field seeking both major parties’ nominations has served in uniform.

"Only with World War II did we start on a regular basis to have military veterans serving in the White House - every president from Harry S. Truman through George H.W. Bush," explains Cyr.

Mitch Teich

For more than two decades, Milwaukee’s Wisconsin Lutheran High School has held a service to honor veterans on Veterans Day.  The service typically introduces students to someone who has served in some capacity in the armed forces, and this year’s honored speaker has a unique story to tell.

Lieutenant Colonel Henry Ratenski served in what was then the Army Air Force at the end of World War II...the very end. 

Milwaukee Children's Choir

Next week is Veterans Day, and there are a number of commemorations scheduled, from the annual Veterans Day parade to memorials and observances. 

The Milwaukee Children’s Choir will present a special concert in honor of veterans.  “American Homeland: A Veterans Day Concert” is scheduled for Sunday afternoon in Milwaukee.

What was originally a one-time concert last year has expanded into a tour visiting soldiers stationed at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin, Rockford, Illinois and Arlington Heights, Illinois.

DVIDSHUB / Flickr

Yesterday, a report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel profiled three Wisconsin veterans with a story that’s not often heard.  They’re transgender veterans, who each served and were discharged honorably.

Reporter Meg Jones' article explores how the military and the Department of Veterans Affairs are dealing with transgender service members.

Dennis Felber Photography

More than 25,000 students began the fall semester last week UW-Milwaukee. About 1,000 are military veterans. More vets attend UWM than any other university in a six-state region.

naneek.com

Thanks to the efforts of contemporary veterans and medical experts, public awareness of combat related post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is far more prevalent than it once was. Being diagnosed with it no longer carries the stigma it once did either in or out of the military. However, it was a different story for veterans like Tim "Naneek" Keenan.

Army Medicine / Flickr

Many military service members return from war with traumatic battlefield injuries and often require intensive and prolonged care. Injuries can range from lost limbs, partial or complete paralysis, and traumatic brain injuries, and veterans often deal with PTSD for the rest of their lives.   

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