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Musings for Veterans Day 2021

Have you served in the military?

Has anyone in your close family (parent, spouse, child, sibling) served?

Do you have any close friends who have served?

Do you actually know anyone who has ever served?

The reality is that a huge portion of our population would have to answer no to each of the first three questions. A not small number of people would have to answer the fourth one in the negative as well.

Today is Veterans Day. Everyone loves veterans, right? Mention you were in the military and the odds are you will get a reflexive “thank you for your service.” Such expressions of gratitude are sincere enough, I suppose, but I doubt many of those stating such appreciation ever considered serving themselves. God forbid that their children might do so.

The reality is that we mostly leave the dirty work of defending our country to people whose world is very different from that of lawyers, doctors, and business professionals. I doubt there are many technology influencers who have military service on their resumes. Maybe that is just reality and historically, if you take out the period after World War II, it is not even all that anomalous.

Regardless, this disconnection troubles me.

I grew up in a Navy family. I served as an artillery officer in the Army, three years on active duty, and then in the National Guard while I was in law school. Since 1999 my law firm has represented hundreds of veterans and military families in medical malpractice cases arising from care at government facilities. Yet sometimes when I am talking to our veteran clients, I feel very disconnected from their experience. Many of these people have had lives and experiences that are very hard for this comfortably situated lawyer to grasp. Even with my background, my efforts to understand and build a relationship sometimes fail miserably.

So, here is what I would ask of my fellow lawyers and other professionals: Try very hard to think about what we really ask of those who serve in our military. Think about the lives they lead and the risks we expect them to take. If you do so, then I guarantee you will have a bit better idea of what Veterans Day is all about.


Rawls Law Group would like to recognize the veterans on our team. Brewster Rawls (pictured left - Army Veteran) and David Tierney (pictured right - Marine Corps Veteran).


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