Local

For Memorial Day, 4 stories of veterans and service members

A uniform belonging to U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Melvin Morris, a Vietnam War veteran and one of the three surviving veterans out of 24 Latino and Jewish soldiers who will receive Medal of Honor on Tuesday, decades after their service.
A uniform belonging to U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Melvin Morris, a Vietnam War veteran and one of the three surviving veterans out of 24 Latino and Jewish soldiers who will receive Medal of Honor on Tuesday, decades after their service.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

With news about budgets and wars often dominating headlines, stories about veterans can get lost in the mix. Memorial Day offers another chance to take a look at a few of the people behind the uniforms.

'We don’t want people to forget'

Navy SEAL Charles Keating IV, who was killed on May 3 fighting the Islamic State in northern Iraq, will be among the 6,864 service members whose names are engraved on a memorial wall set to debut in Long Beach on Monday, May 30. For two years, Laura Herzog has been on a mission to make the wall a reality. Read more about it here.

Laura Herzog stands in front of a newly stuccoed wall that will soon become a memorial to all the Americans killed in action since 9/11.
Laura Herzog stands in front of a newly stuccoed wall that will soon become a memorial to all the Americans killed in action since 9/11.
John Ismay/KPCC

'Fallujah,' a war-torn opera

It was one of the most intense episodes in the Iraq war. Now it's the subject of a new opera. "Fallujah" delves inside the brain of a young Marine after his third suicide attempt. The work is partially based on the experiences of Christian Ellis, who fought in Fallujah as a machine gunner. Read more about the opera here.

Long Beach Opera's performance,
Long Beach Opera's performance, "Fallujah" is based partially on the experiences of machine gunner Christian Ellis. It delves inside the brain of a young Marine, Philip, who's hospitalized in a Veterans Affairs facility after his third suicide attempt.
Long Beach Opera

A graphic novel sketches life in the Marines

Max Uriarte took the maxim "Write what you know" to heart. The former Marine's graphic novel "The White Donkey" explores life in the Corps, mixing humor with serious subjects like split-second combat decisions, the death of a comrade and alcohol abuse. It's doing well with readers. Read more about the book here.

An image from
An image from "Terminal Lance: The White Donkey."

On solid ground while at sea in the Navy

When Bobbie Scholley joined the Navy in 1981, women weren't allowed to serve on warships. Now it's common for female officers to command the heavily-armed vessels. Mary Katey Hays is the the second in command on the USS Decatur and about 20 percent of her crew is female, including two of her top lieutenants. Read more about them here.

Cdr. Mary Katey Hays (right) listens as the Officer of the Deck and the Junior Officer of the Deck run through the
Cdr. Mary Katey Hays (right) listens as the Officer of the Deck and the Junior Officer of the Deck run through the "underway checklist" prior to leaving Pier 4 at Naval Station San Diego.
KPCC/John Ismay