Paul J. Scheck, Esq.
The Briefs, November 2013
Called to Serve
We remember those who were called upon to give all a person can give, and we remember those who were prepared to make that sacrifice if it were demanded of them in the line of duty, though it never was. Most of all, we remember the devotion and gallantry with which all of them ennobled their nation as they became champions of a noble cause.
- Remarks of President Ronald Reagan at the Veterans Day Ceremony, November 1988
On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in the First World War, then known as "the Great War." In November 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11th as the first commemoration of “Armistice Day,” a day primarily set aside to honor veterans of World War I. By 1954, however, World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen in the nation’s history, followed by the deployment of American forces to Korea. As a result, in 1954 Congress amended the previous law by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting in its place the word "Veterans," establishing November 11th as a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
Veterans Day continues to be a celebration honoring America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans – living or dead – but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime. This Veterans Day we remember and reflect upon the enormous sacrifices that have been made by our veterans and their families – past, present, and future. As a nation, we have prospered because we have always had citizens willing to rise to answer the call to serve in hours of need. The millions who have worn the military uniform have expressed the finest attributes of our national heritage, and this month we honor them for their unyielding sacrifice and dedication to our great nation. To all of our veterans and their families – whether members of the OCBA or members of our greater Orange County community – we extend a heartfelt THANK YOU!
In return for their many sacrifices, these brave individuals ask very little. And thus, it falls to an indebted nation to meet their selflessness with thankfulness. Saying "thank you" is important, but there’s always more that we as citizens can do for those whose sacrifices preserved our heritage of freedom. We can pray for those currently serving in our armed forces, that they return home safely, to be honored on this day, with a story or two of their own to tell. We at the OCBA have also begun the process of doing more through the efforts of our Veterans Committee in creating a Veterans' Court here in Orange County.
The Veterans' Court began serving veterans in our community this past month. This new court is a result of the collaborative efforts of many participants, including Chief Judge Perry and Judge Brewer, State Attorney Jeff Ashton and his office, Public Defender Robert Wesley and his office, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Clerk of Courts, and the OCBA’s Veterans Committee chaired by Tommy Burroughs. This court is modeled on our local drug court, and offenders must voluntarily agree to participate. The offenders who are selected must be eligible for veterans’ benefits and must be eligible under the State Attorneys’ current pre-trial diversion criteria. All offenders work closely with the Veterans Health Administration to obtain mental health assessments, evaluations, counseling, and treatment plans and are paired with community resources through a Veterans Health Administration coordinator, who is working hand in hand with the program. One of the ultimate goals of this new program is to stop the revolving door for some veterans, including those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and those having trouble reintegrating into society. We at the OCBA are proud of this new court and the men and women that we hope it will serve.
On this Veterans Day, there is much to commemorate and much to be thankful for. It is true – America remains strong and free. But, we must remember that freedom is not free. So let us never forget our veterans and their families and the high price they have paid protecting our liberties and our country. This month we have the privilege of honoring this very special group of Americans, whose service spans every decade of our country’s existence, and we owe them a debt of gratitude. So thank you, veterans – and God Bless America!
Orange County Bar Association The Briefs, November 2013, Vol. 81, No. 11. All rights reserved.