Ninety-seven years ago, an armistice ended World War I, which was then the greatest conflict the world had ever seen. Armistice Day became Veterans Day in the 1950s and now commemorates the spirit of all U.S. military members.
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President Barack Obama laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery and urged the nation to keep veterans in their thoughts long after Veterans Day.
Obama said the nation is boosting funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs and making progress on long-standing issues of veteran homelessness and in reducing a backlog of disability claims.
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“The unacceptable problems that we’ve seen, like long wait times and some veterans not getting the timely care that they need, is a challenge for all of us if we are to match our words with deeds,” Obama said.
Hmong-Lao Vietnam war veterans were honored by Wisconsin with a monument in the northern city of Wausau, where the first Hmong families arrived nearly 40 years ago.
Hmong American Board President Kham Yang says Hmong veterans were known as the secret soldiers because few knew they fought surreptitiously for the CIA in Laos and faced persecution.
More than 7,000 Hmong now live in Wausau, a city of about 40,000.
Nicholas Del Prete, of Toms River, found and bought some military medals at a flea market last month, and then contacted the Purple Hearts Reunited organization in a bid to find Army Maj. Anthony Sordill, a medical officer who earned the nation’s third-highest decoration for valor, the Silver Star, in North Africa in 1943.
The group was able to contact relatives, and the medals were returned to the family during a ceremony Tuesday in Toms River.