Thank you, Veterans.

We’re closed today for Veterans Day.  Pleasantly surprising, but makes sense since the firm has a very active veterans’ rights practice that does amazing work.

How should we be honoring our veterans? 

Today, in addition to celebrating veterans with parades and ceremonies, wouldn’t it be something if we took a moment to reflect on the fact that so many veterans come back from service only to struggle with mental health, incarceration, poverty, and homelessness?  And, wouldn’t it be extraordinary if we could honor and thank them for their service by promising they receive the VA benefits, medical care, and other services they deserve without having to spend years going through the legal system to get them?

The California Courts, which has a specialized alternative court for veterans, states that:

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that as many as one third of the adult homeless population has served in the military and that at any given time there are as many as 130,000 homeless veterans….A 2000 Bureau of Justice Statistics Report found that 81% of all justice involved veterans had a substance abuse problem prior to incarceration, 35% were identified as suffering from alcohol dependency, 23% were homeless at some point in the prior year, and 25% were identified as mentally ill.

I don’t claim to have all or even any of the answers, but it breaks my heart, and I’m glad that folks like the Center for Veterans Advancement are here to advocate for our veterans.

Fortunately, many veterans do come back and, either independently or with some help, are able to reintegrate successfully.  Here’s a link to a blog post about one such badass veteran whom I was able to meet while going to school in DC.  He served in an all Japanese-American unit during WWII, when most of the country saw him as an “Enemy Alien”.  He was shot, lost an arm, and did some serious effing damage to the Nazis.

“Daniel Inouye ditched the grenades, unslung the Tommy Gun, and started firing it one-handed while running all over the [g-ddamned] battlefield like [an effing] maniac, blasting the holy living [ish] out of anything with a gray helmet.”

Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii – a war hero, a public servant, an APA leader, a lawyer, and a pretty nice guy.

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