Veterans

Ryan Begin hasn't always been the life-loving pot smoker he is today. Back in 2005, the sergeant nearly lost half his arm to an IED while serving in Iraq and was sent home for reconstructive surgery. Upon his return to Belfast, Maine, Begin was plagued by physical pain and outbursts of aggression. He was prescribed a cocktail of drugs as his treatment.

"They took the soul out of me. All that stuff, it drained my soul, it blackened my soul," Begin says.

Begin's mother, Anna, noticed the prescription drugs seemed to exacerbate his post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.

Openly gay U.S. Marine Corps Veteran and New Jersey waitress Dayna Morales will donate some of the tips she has been receiving from across the country to the Jacksonville-based Wounded Warriors Project. A photo of a nearly $100 check with an anti-gay message left in place of a tip she received went viral online last week.

Florida officials inducted six citizens into the state’s Veterans Hall of fame Tuesday. Lawmakers created the honor in 2011, but concerns about diversity slowed down the process, making this year’s group the inaugural set.

Florida Governor Rick Scott inducted five men and one woman during Tuesday’s early morning ceremony. 

Judy Woodruff, the Jacksonville City Council, and state highways are in the headlines today.

Orlando Science Center / Facebook

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Orlando Science Center held a Veteran's Day event to unveil a new monument to the Tuskegee Airmen.

The monument was revealed during a ceremony Monday. Several surviving members from the first group of African-American military aviators in the U.S. armed forces will be on hand. 

Known for the signature red-tailed P-51 Mustang planes they flew during World War II, the airmen will be honored with a 12-foot spire that features an inspirational message.

Local veterans, local students, and the Florida Department of Transportation are in the headlines today.

Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT

Today is Veterans Day, the day Americans have set aside to honor the men and women of the military who in ways large and small have helped shape history.

Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Gary Granger Jr. / U.S. Navy

Jacksonville officials say this year’s Week of Valor won’t be a financial burden to the city and they’re confident last year’s problems won’t happen again.

On Tuesday, Mayor Alvin Brown announced the schedule of events that culminate with the Jaguars Military Appreciation Day game against the Arizona Cardinals Sunday, Nov. 17.

The city lost about $700,000 last year when plans for a basketball game between Florida and Georgetown on an aircraft carrier went awry, but with no such game on the schedule this year officials expect things to go much smoother. 

Nathan Bedford Forrest High School, ENDA, and Zeljko Causevic are in the headlines today.

Gary E. Bruce / YouTube

A new documentary film is premiering in St. Johns County this weekend honoring several generations of local veterans.

Presented by the Veterans Council of St. Johns County in partnership with the Veterans History Project of the Library of Congress, Commitment to Honor is the story of how local combat veterans of the Vietnam War are helping combat vets now returning from Iraq and Afghanistan cope with coming home.

The film was produced by students from The Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Jacksonville.

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