Veterans Day

Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN

With the House impeachment inquiry against President Trump preparing for the first public hearings this Wednesday, South Florida veterans and their families shared what they thought about the political turmoil. 

During the city of Miami Beach’s annual Veteran’s Day Parade on Ocean Drive, many vets said they still continue to support President Trump.

Vietnam War veteran Charles McCoy is now 71, and was drafted when he was only 18 in 1966. 

Madeline Fox / WLRN

A celebration of veterans’ contributions and sacrifices outside Greenacres City Hall for Veterans Day hit repeatedly on the psychological, as well as the physical, wounds that soldiers bring home.

How do we remember what happened during wartime?

One way is through preserving the letters soldiers wrote home. Andrew Carroll has made it his life’s mission to retain them. His cousin, James Carroll Jordan, was a pilot in World War II.

Here’s what one of Jordan’s letters home said:

knitting
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

A handful of women who make up the "Off The Hook" crochet and knitting club in Pembroke Pines have been using their recent meetings to make scarves for military care packages.

Six women gathered Friday at their bi-monthly meeting at the Southwest Regional Library in Pembroke Pines — needles and fancy yarns in hand. 

They worked on hand-made scarves to send to U.S. military members in time for Veterans Day on Monday.

 "Yours is really, really soft," Melody Tuli told one of the club members. 

DANIEL A. VARELA / MIAMI HERALD

Johnny Reus is a 93-year-old, Purple-Heart-awarded combat veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars, who trained top-notch soldiers throughout the Americas and Europe for the U.S. Army. But right now, what he’s concerned about the most is running for a seat on the council of his senior living community in Cutler Bay.

In the United Kingdom, Veterans Day is celebrated with red paper poppies pinned to lapels in remembrance of those who served in World War I. The practice caught on after the bloody battlefields of France bloomed with red poppies following the war. Every year, British people wear these red flower pins for about a month leading up to Nov. 11, and buying one of these paper flowers funds veterans groups. The U.K. memorializes the end of World War I with purpose and style.

Vets: 'More Americans Need To Serve'

Nov 11, 2016
Peter Haden / WLRN

According to the Pew Research Center, just half of one percent of American adults have served on active duty in the military. The rate during World War II? About 9 percent. Some veterans of that generation feel that more people need to serve. 

Dr. Howard Greene served 30 years in the Army Medical Corps and retired a colonel.

“Participation is extremely important,” said Greene, 88, of Boynton Beach. “I don’t think there should be an alternative to military service.”

Ronald Leves served in the Army from 1958-1960.

Veterans consider the next commander-in-chief

Nov 11, 2016
R
Reuters/Lucas Jackson

Veterans Day 2016 came the same week as a significant and divisive election. Veterans, like other groups of Americans, were divided in their voting.

We reached out to more than a thousand vets. Many offered strong opinions.

Mark Schermerhorn from Murfreesboro, Tenn., texted to us: "Thank God Trump won!"

Others wanted to make sure the new president does something about health care for veterans. Phil Moyart of San Jose, California, wrote, "Make America great again, reform the health-care delivery services of the Veterans Administration."

Editor's Note: NPR's Kara Frame made this short documentary film, I Will Go Back Tonight, on the battles with PTSD that her father and his Vietnam War comrades have faced in the decades since they served. On Veterans Day, here's their story, with an introduction from Kara.

Branson Rector

 

Shortly before Veterans Day, Veterans Ocean Adventures a Miami-based nonprofit that teaches veterans to scuba dive, sail and more, hosted a memorial scuba diving trip to honor one of its members. Steve Carraderro, a former Army sergeant, passed away unexpectedly last year.

Saint Leo Takes on Transitioning Veterans

Nov 12, 2014

It’s difficult to define today’s military veteran. But there is one thing they have in common - they don’t like being painted with the same broad brush.

“Just because I’m a veteran, particularly me because I’m a Marine, a combat Marine, don’t think you know my political affiliation, my beliefs, my values,” said Tedd “Gunny” Weiser, short for Gunnery Sergeant. “There is a label and we want to shed that, we want people to know that we are our own person.”

Wilson Sayre / WLRN

The Star-Spangled Banner was not the only national anthem sung at Tuesday’s Veterans' Day service at the University of Miami.

Philippe Létrilliart, the French Consul General, was a guest of honor at the proceedings, where he awarded three Legion of Honor medals to current South Floridians who fought in France.

The Legion of Honor is the highest decoration in France. It was created by Napoleon Bonaparte to recognize people with exceptional merit. President Dwight D. Eisenhower and General Douglas MacArthur were both recipients.

Free Entry To Florida State Parks On Veterans Day

Nov 10, 2014
Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Nearly four years ago my mother suffered a massive stroke that left her wheelchair-bound and nearly speechless. She joined the growing numbers of Americans with disabilities. 

This Veterans Day could pass as just another holiday, but for her and more than 250,000 disabled veterans in Florida, a roll down the beach or a picnic in the park is not only possible but free on Nov. 11.

Meet The Tuskegee Airman In Your Own Backyard

Nov 10, 2014
Philip Hall / University of Alaska Anchorage for "Living history: Tuskegee aviator visits UAA." Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Lt. Col. Leo Gray was born in Boston in 1924. A trumpet player and track runner, he joined the Army in 1943. A year later, he flew solo for the first time, a training flight in Tuskegee, Ala.

Gray flew with the 332nd Fighter Group, arguably the most famous of the Tuskegee Airmen. In 1941, for the first time, the United States Army began training black pilots.The Army was still segregated and trained the men in the same location: Tuskegee.