New Hampshire Bar Association
About the Bar
For Members
For the Public
Legal Links
Publications
Newsroom
Online Store
Vendor Directory
NH Bar Foundation
Judicial Branch
NHMCLE

Everything you need to purchase a court bond is just a click away.

Visit the NH Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) website for information about how our trained staff can help you find an attorney who is right for you.
New Hampshire Bar Association
Lawyer Referral Service Law Related Education NHBA CLE NHBA Insurance Agency
MyNHBar
Member Login
Member Portal
Casemaker

Bar News - December 19, 2008


How Veterans Paved the Way for Legal Progress

By:

The following remarks were delivered by R. James Steiner at a Veterans’ Day observance in Pittsfield, NH on Nov. 11, 2008.

As we honor the contributions and sacrifices of all veterans this year, let me highlight some achievements attributable to distinct classes of veterans during the last 90 years. Indeed, these veterans helped shape new laws over the years—laws that have culminated in major changes to our immediate political landscape.

1914-1918: Women served in the armed forces in WWI, including some 30,000 nurses and signal corps volunteers. Many gave their lives in Europe and some are buried there. Others returned home as veterans, having fought for a country where they did not have the right to vote.

Due in part to the military service provided by these women, the 19th Amendment, which barred prohibitions against voters based on gender, became the law of the land on August 18, 1920.

1939-1945: Substantial numbers of black soldiers served in the armed forces during WWII, most in segregated units. A number of these units earned particular praise, among them the 99th Pursuit Squadron (the Tuskegee Airmen) and the 92nd Infantry, the Buffalo Soldiers division. They fought and died for their country on foreign shores, but these black soldiers returned to a segregated society.

In 1954, in part because of the energy generated by the service of black soldiers in WWII (and even earlier in our history), the United States Supreme Court ruled "separate but equal" unconstitutional. Under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, the case of Brown v. Board of Education, was resolved. This law set the scene for civil rights reforms in the 1960s.

1965-1971: Young men aged 18 served in combat in Vietnam, and gave their lives, but could not vote. (I include here the build-up period when larger military units deployed to Vietnam, including many young draftees.)

The 26th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on July 11, 1971 providing the right to vote to those 18 years of age.

On this 90th anniversary of the armistice of World War I, "the war to end all wars," we look back and take pride in the fact that as a country we have grown and matured. The unselfish acts of those who served their country, but did not share equally in the privileges of its society, paved the way for two historic events to occur during our 2008 presidential campaign: for the first time, a black man was nominated to run for President of the United States and a woman was nominated to run for Vice-President. Even more momentous was the outcome of the election, when the first black man actually won.

As you think of the history made this year, I ask you to remember the sacrifices by all members of the armed forces and to thank them for the many freedoms we all take for granted. Thank you veterans, young and old, thank you for your service and sacrifice for all of us.

We’ve come a long way.

R. James Steiner is an attorney with D’Amante Couser Steiner Pellerin in Concord, a graduate of West Point and former Army Green Beret.


 



Supreme Court Rule 42(9) requires all NH admitted attorneys to notify the Bar Association of any address change, home or office.

Home | About the Bar | For Members | For the Public | Legal Links | Publications | Online Store
Lawyer Referral Service | Law-Related Education | NHBA•CLE | NHBA Insurance Agency | NHMCLE
Search | Calendar

New Hampshire Bar Association
2 Pillsbury Street, Suite 300, Concord NH 03301
phone: (603) 224-6942 fax: (603) 224-2910
email: NHBAinfo@nhbar.org
© NH Bar Association Disclaimer