Veterans Day, originally known as Armistice Day, is a federal holiday observed annually in the United States on November 11. This day honors the service of all military veterans of the United States Armed Forces. It coincides with other international holidays, including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, which are commemorated in other countries to mark the anniversary of the end of World War I.
In order to honor the remarkable contributions of our military veterans, Williams & Connolly asked Partner Liam Montgomery, Associate Derrick Anderson, and IT Support Operations Manager Jim Jackson to reflect on what being a veteran means to them.
IT Support Operations Manager Jim Jackson
“There is an immediate feeling of pride when I think back on my time in the military. Veterans Day is a reminder of the commitment I made to my country at the very young age of 19. That commitment was not my initial plan as much as it was a sudden opportunity. At the time, all I knew about the military was what I saw on the news about Vietnam and seeing men in my neighborhood in Philadelphia returning home, or when the car would pull up with the news that someone was not returning from the war.
My opportunity came when affirmative action helped me get accepted into college back in 1975. I spent my first 2 years in school simply trying to survive. I had no idea of what I wanted to do with my life, and with not having a home life back in Philadelphia, college was more of a place to live than it was a place to learn. This all changed during a pickup basketball game when I met the Professor of Military Science for the new ROTC program starting at my school. He convinced me to try out our new ROTC program. It was that year in 1977 when he convinced me to compete for the first ever Army Airborne School slot offered in our program. I successfully scored the 2nd highest fitness score of the 18 cadets competing to attend. Cadet #1 opted to drop out, so the slot was mine. I enlisted in the US Army in 1977 in order to attend and successfully became the first ever ROTC cadet at my school to complete US Army Airborne School.
The US Army became the fraternity I needed in my life. I cherished the challenges it set before me. In 1979, I received my commission as a 2nd Lieutenant as a US Army Infantry Officer. My career gave me opportunities and experiences I would have never had in my life - from Platoon Leader to Company Commander to Jumpmaster and Ranger School grad. The camaraderie found in the military stays with you for the rest of your life. I was proud to wear the uniform of my country and to travel the world. All this from a pickup basketball game!”
Associate Derrick Anderson
“My service in the U.S. Army as an infantryman and Special Forces ‘Green Beret’ was one of the most honored jobs I have had the privilege to do. It shaped me as the person I am today, and gave me professional tools to be successful. Leading our men and woman over the course of 10-plus [years?] taught me how to make tough decisions in some of the most stressful situations. As someone who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, Veteran’s Day is an especially impactful day to me. It is a day when we honor our Veterans and the sacrifices they have made. I encourage everyone to take a moment today to thank a Veteran for their service. It means more than you can imagine to them!”
Partner Liam Montgomery
“To me, part of being a veteran means coming from a community where my job was and still is also part of my core identity. It gives me a set of core values I try to live by every day, like integrity, commitment, and service to others. I’m grateful to be part of a firm that shares those values, not least in its deep commitment to pro bono work and support of veterans. I am also grateful to W&C’s community of veterans, which comes from every area of W&C. We always have each other’s backs, just like we used to in the military.”