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A country divided by a grueling campaign season has an opportunity to unite this Veteran’s day.  Remembering America’s fallen turns our minds to the long view…and to historic sacrifices beyond the politics-of-the-moment.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

The campaigns of Carol Shea-Porter and Frank Guinta are trading sharp words over a Shea-Porter ad claiming Guinta voted to cut money for veterans’ programs. The ad that Shea-Porter’s campaign released last week stuck to the aggressive tone that the former congresswoman has adopted this election cycle.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

New Hampshire Congressman Charlie Bass is celebrating the enactment of a law he backed to curb protests at military funerals Thursday.

At a statehouse news conference, Bass, flanked by veteran groups, said the new law strikes the right balance.

“I think that we have a fundamental obligation to ensure that fallen service members receive the honor and respect that they deserve.”

Most American troops have left Iraq, and many have left Afghanistan. Now more than half a million of them have left the service — and they're going to college. Some vets say the transition is like landing on another planet, but they aren't the only ones struggling: The college staffs are, too.

Healing the Wounds of War

Apr 24, 2012

After ten years since the War on Terror began, many service members have come back with visible injuries, but many others have come home with less obvious wounds associated with military service; like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, and a high suicide rate. We’ll look at these problems, where the system is working and failing, and what some are trying to do to help. 


Photo: <a href="">Lucid Nightmare</a> / Flickr

Veterans in Coos County deserve a medical clinic in Colebrook, according to a letter sent to the Department of Veterans Affairs by Senators Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen and Rep. Charlie Bass.

“While Coos County’s population is small compared to the area covered, there are some 3,605 veterans in New Hampshire’s North Country, of which 1,821 are in the VA medical system,” the letter says. 

Last year, the number of homeless U.S. veterans on a given night dropped 12 percent from the year before. But tens of thousands were still on the streets, and more could be joining them as troops return from Afghanistan and Iraq. President Obama has vowed to end veterans' homelessness by 2015.

Homeless No More

James Brown left the Army in 1979. And for most of the next 32 years, he lived on the streets in and around Los Angeles. You might have seen him: the dirty, disheveled guy trying to keep warm in a cardboard box.

US Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki was in New Hampshire Tuesday to visit the site of the new Veterans Center in Hooksett. The new center, which will be completed in August, is part of an effort by the VA to help Vets gain better access to medical care and mental health counseling.

Hundreds of thousands of veterans have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years, eager to get an education under the new post-Sept. 11 GI Bill.

Many vets looking for a school find they are inundated by sales pitches from institutions hungry for their government benefits. Now, lawmakers are looking for ways to protect vets without narrowing their education choices.

Business Boot Camp Gives Veterans A New Start

Feb 28, 2012

The pullout of American troops in Iraq and those returning from Afghanistan have brought many service members back to their families and into the civilian job market.

While there is a new law that offers incentives to employers who hire them, many veterans across the country are trying to start their own businesses. A rigorous, free program started at Syracuse University is giving them the tools to be their own boss.

To help U.S. troops ease back into civilian life, veteran Anthony Bravo Esparza offers them a haircut, and a safe and friendly place to hang out. Esparza — known to his friends as "Dreamer" — sees it as a way to help former soldiers find their way.

Dreamer's barbershop is easy to find; it's set up inside a trailer in the parking lot of the West Los Angeles Medical Center campus of the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System.

Military Pokes Holes In Acupuncture Skeptics' Theory

Feb 16, 2012

In a fluorescent-lit exam room, Col. Rochelle Wasserman sticks ballpoint-size pins in the ears of Sgt. Rick Remalia.

Remalia broke his back, hip and pelvis during a rollover caused by a pair of rocket-propelled grenades in Afghanistan. He still walks with a cane and suffers from mild traumatic brain injury. Pain is an everyday occurrence, which is where the needles come in.

"I've had a lot of treatment, and this is the first treatment that I've had where I've been like, OK, wow, I've actually seen a really big difference," he says.

All wars bring innovations — in weapons, and also in ways to repair the damage done. Penicillin is one of the more famous examples: It came into use as a treatment for troops in World War II.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have brought their own breakthroughs, none more dramatic than the prosthetics that come close to giving back what has been lost. And big advances in treating grievous injuries have meant many more troops coming home alive.

The last of the U-S troops are now returning from Iraq.

Once home they’re likely to end up joining thousands of other veterans looking for work in a bleak job market.

Despite government incentives to get companies to hire vets, unemployment among vets is still higher than civilians.

The youngest veterans struggle the most.

Twenty-two year old Courtney Selig went into the military to better herself.

Politicians and journalists always run a risk when they judge a voter strictly on on appearances.

There was a reminder of that Monday when Mitt Romney was forced to defend his opposition to gay marriage during a restaurant encounter with a grizzled Vietnam veteran who happened to be gay.

As it turned out the vet, Bob Garon, also was sitting at a restaurant booth with his husband when the unsuspecting Romney, campaigning at the Manchester restaurant, asked if he could sit down with them.

Sara Plourde/NHPR

"If I would've finished that flight I would have come home to sell war bonds," says Herman "Herk" Streitburger of Bedford.  That last flight did not go as planned; instead, the B24 Liberator Bomber on which he served as gunner was shot down, and as he puts it, Herk became a guest of the German government for about a year.

US Representative Frank Guinta hosted a jobs fair for veterans in Manchester Thursday in an effort curb higher unemployment for returning troops.

Over two-hundred veterans attended the fair at Manchester Community College Thursday in hopes of finding job opportunities.

Unemployment rates among returning veterans is close to three points higher than the national unemployment rate.

Congressman Frank Guinta says the employment gap between veterans and civilians is what prompted him to organize the event.