U.S. Army photo

On Jan. 23, 1973, President Richard Nixon gave a speech describing a peace agreement with North Vietnam after over a decade of war against the North Vietnamese Army and their proxy Viet Cong guerrillas in South Vietnam.

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Photo by Mathew Brady (1823–1896)

Throughout the summer of 1864, Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman commanded three Union armies in a series of battles across northwest Georgia with Atlanta as the objective. On Sept. 1, the Confederate army evacuated Atlanta, and the Union occupied the city the following day.

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Image via William J. Bradley's "The Civil War: Fort Sumter to Appomattox"

On July 7, during the height of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation putting into effect the first military draft after several months of registration. It was authorized by the Enrollment Act of 1863 passed in March, and was the first draft actually enforced in the history of the United States.

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Photo via U.S. Army Center for Military History

On the night of June 30, 1950, Lt. Col. Charles B. Smith was asleep in his quarters at Camp Woods near Kumamoto, Japan, when he received a phone call. “The lid has blown off. Get on your clothes and report to the CP,” his commanding officer told him. This began the deployment of Task Force Smith, the first American combat troops to arrive and fight in the Korean War.

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Photo by Sgt. Eric C. Schwartz

2014 has been a tumultuous year for veterans and the military. A country where many thought the war was over is back in the headlines, while another faces an uncertain end. The Department of Veterans Affairs has taken a serious black eye, and day-to-day issues such as homelessness and veterans unemployment are starting to improve. As the year comes to an end, here is a look at the issues that have affected us all.

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