EagleHerald News Manager

Veterans who served over the last 20 years, as well as their families, saw some of the biggest repercussions of the attacks on the United States Sept. 11, 2001.

The results of war on a veteran and their family include a host of physical and mental health problems. The list can include: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), disabilities, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), missing limbs, depression, anxiety, substance abuse and thoughts of suicide.

A Menominee County veteran service officer said, “We have the ability to save more injured and wounded on the battlefield, which came from the Gulf War (era).”

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, as of 2021 there were approximately 7.8 million American veterans who served in the Gulf War era, passing up the 5.9 million who served in the Vietnam era. Because the conflict in the Persian Gulf area has lasted so long, longer than any other war or conflict in American history, the ramifications will continue well after today. As those who served in the conflicts age, healthcare benefits will continue, but housing for elderly and other veteran benefits will be put to use.

Thomas Doyle, Marinette County Veteran Service Officer, who was in active duty as an aircraft mechanic in the Air Force during 9/11, said that majority of the veterans helped in Marinette County are Vietnam-era veterans.

Other changes brought on by the conflicts that resulted from the attacks on 9/11 include updates to programs offered to veterans after service. The Sept. 11 Education bill, was an update to the GI Bill, which provides funding for veterans to go to college and also to pass it on to family.

The Mission Bill, officially the VA Maintaining Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act, was signed by President Donald Trump June 6, 2018, as a result of the conflicts. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, The MISSION Act gives Veterans greater access to health care in VA facilities and the community, expands benefits for caregivers, and improves VA’s ability to recruit and retain the best medical providers.

Patriotism seemed to have been boosted in the wake of the attacks.

Doyle, who also started recruiting in April 2002 in Green Bay, said, “I didn’t have a hard time recruiting kids in Green Bay for whatever reason it may be. ... I would ask the question, ‘Hey, what makes you want to join the military?’ ... Young men and women wanted to join the military to do their part.”

One of the Menominee County Veteran Service officers said, “The appreciation of the soldiers and the efforts they’ve done and their families is marginally different from the Vietnam era. That’s much, MUCH appreciated.” Another Menominee County Veteran Service officer added, “That was the Vietnam War that made that happen. We would not let that happen again.”

Editor’s note: The Menominee County Veterans Service officers asked that their names not be used.