Happy Memorial Day (and be sure to view some Arizona events to commemorate the day).

Marine at Vietnam Memorial on 4th July 2002 (via Wikimedia Commons, photo by Meutia Chaerani - Indradi Soemardjan)

Marine at Vietnam Memorial on 4th July 2002 (via Wikimedia Commons, photo by Meutia Chaerani – Indradi Soemardjan)

Vietnam Memorial (photo by David Selden, winner of our May 2010 Creative Arts Competition for Photography)

Happy Change of Venue Friday. More important, Happy Veterans Day.

I offer two brief items for your review on this significant holiday.

First, in case you missed it, go back and read this essay by Marcy Karin and Carissa Hessick from Thursday’s Arizona Republic. Both authors are educators at the ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

They open their op-ed by detailing the employment challenge that vets face:

“This week, we honor Arizona’s 600,000 veterans, many who proudly served our country in Middle East war zones during the past decade. With more troops set to return home, Veterans Day provides us with an opportunity to recognize the difficulties service members face reintegrating into civilian life through changes to employment resources and the criminal-justice system.

Carissa Hessick

“Combat service takes a heavy toll. Physical impairments like hearing loss and traumatic brain and spinal-cord injuries are common. Studies also indicate almost 35 percent of veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. These ailments many times lead to homelessness and substance abuse. Work is hard to find, and keeping a job is difficult.

“Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan have a national unemployment rate of 11.7 percent. Locally, a recently returned Army National Guard unit had a 50 percent unemployment rate. Veterans are returning home to a tight job market, and weary employers may not understand the skills these job-seekers developed in the military.”

Marcy Karin

Karin and Hessick explain the good that has flowed from federal legislation that protects veterans’ jobs, and from the institution of veterans courts in some jurisdictions (we covered one example in Arizona Attorney Magazine here).

But they urge further legal changes, including considering military service as a mitigating factor in all crimes, not just low-level ones. What do you think?

A second item worth your attention this weekend is the presence in Arizona of a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The revered structure in Washington, DC, designed by architect Maya Lin, is an emotional testament to what was sacrificed by so many. Though millions visit the Memorial, many more are unable to travel to Washington—which makes a replica a pretty compelling idea.

This will be erected in Tempe through the weekend. Read more about it here.

The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall travels down Mill Avenue on its way to Tempe Beach Park for display. (David Kadlubowski/The Arizona Republic)

Have a great weekend.