Veterans Day became a federal holiday in 1954 under President Eisenhower’s administration. The purpose of Veterans Day is to honor all veterans for their service, sacrifice, and patriotism during times of peace and conflict. Lawyers have and continue to serve an important role in the armed forces. Here are some milestones, news updates, and ways you can get involved in supporting our service members this Veterans Day.
- In 2013, the army swore in its first female JAG general. Brig. Gen. Flora D. Darpino became the first female JAG (judge advocate general) in the history of the Corps. The JAG Corp was founded nearly 236 years ago under the tutelage of George Washington. Attorneys working in the military, especially female attorneys who are paving the way, are certainly worth celebrating.
- Progress is being made on the veterans’ benefits backlog. Without getting too political, I believe that our veterans shouldn’t have to wait unreasonably long periods to get the necessary benefits to which they are entitled. Recent news reports indicate that progress is being made to clear the backlog of those waiting extended periods for benefits. While this hasn’t solved the problem, it is progress and that is a good thing.
- Read ABA’s World War II Law and Lawyers: Issues, Cases, and Characters. This book highlights hundreds of lawyers and judges who played a pivotal role in navigating complex legal issues during wartime.
- Watch A Few Good Men. Re-watching this ubiquitous film about a newly minted JAG is a must. The cross-examination scene is a lawyer’s dream.
- Support the WA Veterans Will Clinic. Lawyers across the state provide free estate-planning services to veterans. The clinic has been a tremendous success, due to the hard work of WSBA volunteers like 2013 Outstanding Young Lawyer Award winner Jacob Brennan. The clinic was founded by the Spokane County Bar Association Young Lawyers Division in collaboration with Army OneSource, Gonzaga University School of Law, Red Cross – Inland Northwest Region, Vet Center (a division of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs), and the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.