Doug Bradley, NCME’s interim director of communications and Vietnam veteran.
This Friday, Nov. 11, the nation will observe Veterans Day with a federal holiday, a Presidential proclamation and ceremonies from coast to coast. We will pay tribute to our veterans, to the fallen, and to their families, and we will renew our commitment to supporting them for as long as they are proud veterans of the United States Armed Forces.
In other parts of the world, Nov. 11 is recognized as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day to mark the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. The remembering part is especially significant for me, because I departed for, and returned home from, Vietnam on Veterans Day in 1970 and 1971 respectively.
Public media will be doing their part to help us remember as they join with their local communities to commemorate Veterans Day and honor those who have answered the country’s call. From national programs on PBS and NPR to oral histories, documentaries and veterans festivals at the local level, public radio and television stations will explore the ideals of service and sacrifice shared by generations of America’s veterans. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting has an impressive summary of national programming listed here.
Included among the outstanding array of relevant content and events offered by scores of local stations are the oral histories of local soldiers who served in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq by WEKU in Richmond, Kentucky; Connecticut Public Television’s airing of an original documentary on homeless female veterans; and a Veterans Parade and Veterans Day Festival in Grand Rapids, Michigan, that local station WGVU is supporting. Folks in my hometown of Madison, Wisconsin, will be able to watch a screening of the new Wisconsin Public Television documentary, “Wounded Warriors,” which tells the story of Wisconsin’s Menominee Nation’s veterans.
My 40 years back home from my war have shown me we need to continue doing more as a nation to welcome our servicemen and women home to their communities, to their families, and to their former selves. We can’t just pay them lip service. We need to help them to heal. That begins with listening. Public media can help you to do that too.
(NOTE: Madison-based Vietnam veteran Doug Bradley is NCME’s interim director of communications, He served as an information specialist at U. S. Army Republic of Vietnam headquarters at Long Binh from Nov. 1970 to Nov. 1971.)
Below, Doug Bradley reads aloud the names of fallen soldiers since 9/11 as part of a daylong Remembrance Day National Roll Call and Minute of Silence through Vets for Vets UW-Madison.