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Meet Veterans And Hear Their Stories In ‘Veterans Coming Home’ Series


KERA and public media stations across the country will mark Veterans Day, Nov. 11, with a number of stories and programs focused on veterans, including memories of war and stories from home as they return to civilian life.

Learn more about the national Veterans Coming Home public media effort.

On KERA Radio

  • Nov. 7: Wartime vs. ER trauma -- Dr. Stephen Burgher served in the U.S. Navy and earned his medical degree. Today, he is an emergency trauma physician in Dallas. He tells KERA's Lauren Silverman about the differences between emergency medicine at home and on the battlefield.
  • Nov. 10: A judge in veterans court -- Doualy Xaykaothao talks with a Tarrant County judge who pioneered the first North Texas court specifically for veterans. Listen to the story here.
  • Nov. 11: Inside a veterans court -- Texas’ first veterans court opened in 2009. Now there are three in North Texas. Lauren Silverman visits one of the courts that offer hope to military memberswho may be struggling with post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, physical disability, and drug and alcohol addiction.
  • Nov. 11: A radio special -- On Tuesday at 8 p.m., KERA 90.1 FM will air Coming Home: Stories of Veterans Returning from War
More than two million veterans have come home so far from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  For returning veterans, reintegrating into society can be a challenge.   How do you find your place, when you’ve changed and the people you love don’t recognize you? When that old life is gone and you have to start a new one from scratch.  In this hour State of the Re:Union explores reintegration and asks the question: how do you come back home from war?

Credit Shutterstock

On KERA-TV, Channel 13

  • Nov. 11 at 8 p.m. -- Navy Seals: Their Untold Story
Despite the widespread attention paid to the Navy SEALs since they killed Osama bin Laden, the story of how these clandestine warriors evolved in response to changing threats — from WWII to the War on Terror — and how their extraordinary abilities shaped U.S. and world history, has remained untold. Few people know the unheralded tales of the first frogmen who dared to face almost certain death with little training, scant equipment and untested tactics.

Here’s a preview:

  • Nov. 11 at 11 p.m. -- Craft In America: Service 
The Peabody Award-winning series explores America’s creative spirit through the language and traditions of the handmade. Beginning with the origins of the Army Arts & Crafts Program and the G.I. Bill, Service documents craft in the military and the power of the handmade to inspire, motivate and heal.

On KERA-TV World, Digital Channel 13.2

  • Nov. 11 at 5 p.m. -- Service: When Women Come Marching Home
  • Nov. 11 at 6 p.m. -- Street Vets
  • Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. -- America Reframed: Reserved To Fight


KLRN-TV, the PBS station in San Antonio, is exploring the issues facing veterans as they return to civilian life:

Over the past five years, San Antonio has seen a sharp increase in the military community’s needs for services due to the drawdown of forces.   This number is expected to grow significantly --- between 2014 and 2017, an estimated 40,000 veterans and their families will settle in San Antonio, straining existing resources. Many leave the military with a sense that they are alone--that much of their struggles happen outside the purview of the civilian population.  They feel isolated and disconnected. 

Watch more videos here.

Visit the Coming Home San Antonio website.

Visit the Veterans Voices website.

Credit Mike Flippo / Shutterstock

From PBS: Vietnam Veterans Recount Their War Experiences

PBS has launched Stories of Service, a multiplatform series focusing on veterans and their stories.

The Stories of Service collection on the PBS website includes new and archival programs from national PBS broadcasts and productions from member stations, PBS Digital Studios and Veterans Coming Home.

From StoryCorps

StoryCorps, the oral history project, will feature special military segments starting Nov. 7 on NPR’s Morning Edition and Weekend Edition Saturday.

Listen to stories from StoryCorps’ Military Voices Initiative.

Three new animated shorts will be released starting Nov. 10.

Watch a StoryCorps animated short from a few years ago:

Joseph Robertson was an infantryman in the U.S. Army during World War II, and he fought in the Battle of the Bulge. The stark black and white images in this short haunt the viewer -- just as Robertson is haunted still by his memories of that battle. "Germans in the Woods" is an animated short featuring audio from StoryCorps.

Veterans Day Parades In North Texas

  • The Dallas Veterans Day Parade starts at 11 a.m. Tuesday in downtown Dallas. The theme: "Honoring Our Wounded Veterans." 
  • The Tarrant County Veterans Council's Veterans Day Paradehappens at 10 a.m. Nov. 11 in downtown Fort Worth. The theme: "Honoring Our Flag: 200th Anniversary Of Our National Anthem."

Credit Orhan Cam / Shutterstock
The Iwo Jima Memorial in Washington, DC.

History of Veterans Day

From the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs:

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” -- officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.” In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…" The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.

Vietnam War resources

From PBS: Stories of Service

From American Experience: Vietnam Online

From PBS: Vietnam War Stories

From PBS: Battlefield: Vietnam

From American Experience: Last Days In Vietnam

“Last Days In Vietnam” airs April 28

On April 28 at 8 p.m., PBS and KERA-TV will air “Last Days In Vietnam,” a documentary. Watch Chapter 1 here.

About “Last Days”

From PBS:

“Last Days in Vietnam” chronicles the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War as the North Vietnamese Army closed in on Saigon. With the clock ticking and the city under fire, American officers on the ground faced a moral dilemma: follow official policy and evacuate U.S. citizens and their dependents only, or ignore orders and save the men, women, and children they had come to value and love in their years in Vietnam. At the risk of their careers and possible court-martial, a handful of individuals took matters into their own hands. Engaging in unsanctioned and often makeshift operations, they waged a desperate effort to evacuate as many South Vietnamese as possible.

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.