A Message from the Dean: Honoring Veterans

Dear UW Law Community:

In observance of Veterans Day this year, please join me in honoring the many contributions and sacrifices of those who have served our country as members of the U.S. military.

We are living in a nation that is deeply divided by politics, managing an ongoing global pandemic and struggling against racial injustice. These challenges are causing untold anxiety and stress for all of us.

However, I find myself reflecting on how these challenges are impacting our veterans, who make up a community that is especially vulnerable to economic, social and health-related hardships. COVID-19 only exasperates these vulnerabilities.

On its website, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that veterans may experience worry or anxiety about their risk for contracting COVID-19 or about their ability to get recommended care. Fear or concern about the impact of COVID-19 on physical health and daily life may contribute to the onset of or worsen existing mental health problems. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic may increase stress for many service members and their families. 

I recently spoke with a fellow veteran and Washingtonian whose son was aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), an aircraft carrier on which over 1,100 crewmembers contracted COVID-19. It is important that we continue to acknowledge the impact of the pandemic on families of service members and veterans, many of whom are making an already-challenging transition from military to civilian life in an era of limited resources.

This year, we have fewer opportunities than usual to celebrate the veterans in our community. Please do not let this deter you from reaching out to the veterans in your life to not only express your gratitude for their service to this country, but also to offer your support, appreciation and empathy. Even small gestures are more important than ever.

As UW President Ana Mari Cauce noted in her letter this afternoon, the pandemic prevents UW from holding an in-person ceremony or many of the other events that are usually part of Veterans Appreciation Week. I would like to echo her invitation to watch the university’s video tribute to our service members.

Military service is apolitical and a status that crosses all people. The dedication service members demonstrate to our country is the same dedication that inspires us all to serve our community.

We proudly recognize the veterans and service members who are part of our UW Law community. Thank you for your service. If there is anything we can do to support you during these challenging times, please do not hesitate to reach out.


Mario L. Barnes
Toni Rembe Dean and Professor of Law
UW School of Law