Veterans at the Nashville Bar
Last year for Veterans Day we here at the Young Lawyers Blog
gave recognition to some of Nashville's lawyers
that have served under the
stars and stripes. It feels like a good tradition to continue.
James O. Bass, Sr.
graduated from Harvard Law School in 1934, and has for the most part practiced law at Bass, Berry & Sims ever since. It is no coincidence his name is on the letterhead--Mr. Bass founded one of Nashville's and the U.S.'s
great law firms
. In October of 1942, Mr. Bass, having established a successful law firm and served as a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives and a State Senator, took a commission to the Judge Advocate General's Department of the U.S. Army and went to Germany to fight Hitler. He must have done a great job, because he left Germany as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1945 with a Bronze Star. Having fought injustice abroad, Mr. Bass returned to Nashville to fight injustice at home, playing a pivotal role in advancing civil rights as the chair of Nashville's Committee on Human Relations.
The word "hero" isn't enough for Mr. Bass
, who turned 101 this summer. You can still call him in his office--he shows up at work every morning to this day.
served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, and went to Vietnam as part of the Marine Combined Action Forces, earning the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. Bob earned a trunk full of awards in his time, but the Cross of Gallantry was awarded for a specific action he took, and it's the only one he's willing to let me brag about. He came back to Nashville and went to Vanderbilt for law school, and went on to serve as the Chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party and run for U.S. Senate, all the while continuing to teach as an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University Law School. He spends his days practicing law at his firm,
Trauger & Tuke
, and continues to be active in politics. From time to time he even puts up with me.
Joseph A. "Woody" Woodruff
somehow managed to have a successful legal practice
serve in the U.S. military for 30 years. After graduating from the University of Alabama School of Law, Woody returned to active military service as a Judge Advocate in the U.S. Army. Nowadays, when he's not practicing law he's
practicing as a sports writer
. Woody's an
avid Alabama fan
, so don't be surprised if he always picks the Crimson Tide for the win. Woody even finds time to be active in politics, and is often the Yin to Bob Tuke's Yang in that respect. If you want to see an example of his leadership, read his firm profile--in his version of things it is always his team that succeeds, not him personally. Some might say that he learned that in the military, but I'm betting that the military learned leadership from him. We're lucky to have him.
Sean Bennett graduated from Vanderbilt University Law School with me in 2009. With a background in financial services, you'd think he would have gone for the power and glory of legal practice on Wall Street, but no; he joined the U.S. Army instead. If being universally loved by his classmates was the measure, Sean would have won the Founders Medal. His whole class is proud of him and hopes he stays safe.
This year saw a couple of very notable old soldiers fade away to serve in heaven's armies. Frank Buckles had been the last living confirmed veteran of the First World War, serving as an ambulance driver on the Western Front. Having served in the War to End All Wars, He was held prisoner by the Japanese in World War II as a civilian. Buckles died in West Virginia on February 27 of this year. Flags flew at half staff to honor the final death of a generation who gave so much they were almost completely lost.
Richard Winters, made famous late in his life by the HBO series "Band of Brothers," found himself the leader of the 101
Airborne Division's Easy Company on D-Day when his commanding officer was killed over Normandy during the invasion. He lead the division through D-Day, a failed expedition in Belgium, the worst of the Battle of the Bulge, and the capture of Hitler's sanctuary, Berchtesgaden. The last of Easy Company's living commanders, Major Dick Winters died in peace on January 2
of this year.
On this Veteran's Day, remember all veterans, including the ones that still walk among us.
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| November 10, 2011 13:16
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