Fennemore Proudly Honors Veterans Day

We express our gratitude for the service and commitment of our veterans on November 11, and always

There are currently about 19 million veterans in the United States. Most of our veterans are from the Vietnam War era and are men over 75. Texas, Florida, and California are the states with the most vets. And there are only 240,000 veterans of World War II still living, with about 230 passing away each day.

Of the many that served our country, there are some individuals who also devoted their lives to public service after their time in the armed forces as attorneys and public servants. Let’s look at some notable veterans—both attorneys and non-attorneys:

Attorneys Who Served in Public Service

John Kerry served as the U.S. Secretary of State under Barack Obama for his second term, and in January 2021, he was appointed by President Biden as the nation’s first Special Presidential Envoy for Climate and the first-ever Principal to sit on the National Security Council entirely dedicated to climate change. Kerry spent four years in the Naval Reserve and completed officer candidate school. He was commissioned as an officer in December of 1966. In Vietnam, he was wounded and received a Purple Heart. Kerry received his law degree from Boston College in 1976 and worked as a prosecutor.

Robert Mueller recently served the country as Special Counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice. Before this, he was the Director of the FBI for 12 years. Mueller’s military service started during the Vietnam War in 1968 as a lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. He was awarded the Bronze Star (with valor), Purple Heart, two Navy Commendation Medals (with valor), a Combat Action Ribbon, and the South Vietnam Gallantry Cross. Mueller once said, “I consider myself exceptionally lucky to have made it out of Vietnam. There were many—many—who did not. And perhaps because I did survive Vietnam, I have always felt compelled to contribute.”

Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren enlisted in the U.S. Army during World War I and was discharged after a year after serving as a First Lieutenant. He also served his country as the Governor of California. He participated in landmark decisions in many cases, such as Brown v. Board of Education (1954), Gideon v. Wainwright (1963), and Miranda v. Arizona (1966).

Supreme Court Justice Byron White was a pro football player and attorney. At the start of World War II, he enlisted as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy and took part in the Pacific Theatre. He rose to the rank of lieutenant commander, and after the war, he returned to Yale Law School to complete his education. He appointed the United States Deputy Attorney General in the Kennedy administration, and it was that president named him to the United States Supreme Court.

The current governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, was an attorney and naval officer. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for his military service.

Non-Attorneys Who Served in Public Service

There are also notable non-attorneys who had illustrious careers in public service. Let’s look at a few:

The late President George H.W. Bush served his country his entire life. He was the 41st President, Vice President under Ronald Reagan, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and Ambassador to the United Nations. In WWII, he was one of the youngest naval aviators and flew 58 combat missions. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals, and the Presidential Unit Citation.

The late Senator John McCain was one of the most famous veterans in America’s history. As a POW in the Vietnam War, he spent five-and-a-half years at Hỏa Lò Prison, also known as the “Hanoi Hilton.” McCain was offered early release because his father was an admiral, but McCain refused to be released ahead of other Americans who had been imprisoned longer. After his release, he entered politics and in 1982, he was elected to the House of Representatives for Arizona. After two terms, he won a seat in the U.S. Senate in 1986. Senator McCain rain for president in 2000 but lost. He returned to the Senate, where he continued to play a prominent role until his death in 2018.

The late General Colin Powell was a career soldier who transitioned into the political arena as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State—— the first African American to hold either position. After college, he entered the army and served in Vietnam. In April 1989, he became a four-star general.

Senator Tammy Duckworth was the first disabled female veteran elected to the House of Representatives and the Senate. While earning her Ph.D. at Northern Illinois University, she joined the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps with the Illinois Army National Guard. There she trained as a Blackhawk pilot and was deployed to Iraq in 2004. Her helicopter was struck by a grenade, resulting in the loss of both her legs and partial motion in her right arm. She was awarded an Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, and a Purple Heart. Duckworth also served as assistant secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs under President Obama in 2009 before heading to Congress.

Senator Duckworth said of her time in the military: “I was hurt in service for my country. I was proud to go,” she told The Washington Post. “It was my duty as a soldier to go. And I would go tomorrow.”

Veterans Benefits

In addition to highlighting these dedicated public servants, we want all veterans to be aware of the benefits provided to those who served:

The federal agency primarily responsible for administering the various programs for veterans is the Veterans Affairs Department (VA). A veteran’s eligibility for VA benefits is based on a variety of factors, like whether the veteran served during wartime. A vet must have received an honorable or general discharge to qualify for benefits. Here are a few of the many benefits available:

  • Health Care. A wide range of health care benefits are available for qualified veterans, such as:
    • nursing home care;
    • outpatient pharmacy services;
    • outpatient dental treatment; and
    • alcohol and drug-dependence treatment.

Veterans who are seriously injured in the line of combat and have suffered a major disability are generally eligible for other benefits.

  • Disability Compensation. Veterans who become disabled as a result of injury or disease in active military service may qualify for disability compensation. The VA also has vocational rehabilitation to prepare vets for employment.
  • Pensions. The federal government may provide monetary support for veterans who became permanently and totally disabled and who have low incomes.
  • Education and Vocational Training. A number of training possibilities are available for veterans who qualify for educational assistance. This includes:
    • College or university courses for a degree;
    • Courses for a diploma or certificate from a business, technical, or vocational school;
    • An apprenticeship or other on-the-job training program;
    • Correspondence courses;
    • State-approved certification programs for teachers;
    • Courses required for a vet to gain admission to a college or graduate school; and
    • Approved licensing and certification tests.
  • Home Loan Guarantees. The VA guarantees certain home loans for vets, as well as for those in active service, reservists, and surviving spouses.

Plus, vets may be entitled to additional VA benefits, including life insurance, burial services, and survivor benefits.

Thank you, veterans! Your service does not go unnoticed – and we salute you for your sacrifices to help make many of the freedoms we enjoy as Americans possible.

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