Monday, November 12, 2012

Veterans and Specialties

I was at a store on Saturday with my wife and niece.  We were walking towards the cash register when we passed a gray-haired man in a black cowboy hat with a Vietnam Veterans patch sewn on it.  A mother and child in front of us stopped abruptly and ran behind us.  The boy, about eight I'd guess, ran up to the man and said, "excuse me."  The man stopped without a word.  The boy said, "thank you for your service.  My grandpa and great grandpa served.  I appreciate it."

They shook hands and the smile from the man's face could be seen from outside.

The best way I know to say thank you is through the written word.  These words, however, will fall short of the deep appreciation I actually feel.  For hundreds of years, men and women have agreed to put their country before themselves and battle for those of us that either don't want to or cannot.  The soldiers do not care who we are or what we believe in, so much as what America stands for.  The selfless tasks performed by soldiers every day is a stark reminder that what is truly important in life is often unheralded.  Thank you to all those who have ever served on my behalf, overseas or at home.  You are the ones who have made my choices in life possible.  It hardly seems right that I receive a day off in honor of other people's sacrifices.  Shouldn't I have to volunteer or something like that today?

Now for the legal aspect of the post.  Soldiers face difficult tasks when returning to the life of a citizen.  Some have been in war zones and have a difficult time coping.  As prosecutors, we see the effects daily.  We handle many cases where veterans are arrested for drugs or violence.  Then, we face the difficult task of deciding how to handle these cases.  Do they receive special treatment because of the soldier's past?  Should they be treated like any other person in the system?

New specialty courts appear every year.  In my county, there is a drug court, DWI court, youth court, mental health court and now a veterans court.  The idea behind these courts is that the cases sent there require specialized attention and services necessitating different treatment.  If you don't fall into one of these categories, then you don't get the special services the courts offer.  The motivation behind specialty courts is admirable, but is it fair?  Should different groups of citizens be treated and offered separate services?  Should the courts even be involved in this?


  1. This country does NOT provide enough support for soldiers returning from war so I believe that they should be treated somewhat differently.

    Also whenever I see a vet or a soldier, I always, always, always shake their hand and thank them for their service. I want my daughter to grow up with that example. Vets and soldiers do not get enough credit, attention, fanfare or support in my opinion. Not for what they're asked to do.

  2. Thank you Lisa! It's about time I figured it all out.

    I agree there's not enough services for veterans returning home. They do so much for us and we let them down when they hit American soil.