2013 - The Law Of
2013 - The Law Of

2013 - The Law Of


HERO:  James Van Thach

BRANCH:  U.S. Army

ARTIST:   Kayla Vallar



The first Vietnamese-American advisor to the New Iraqi Army, U.S. Army Captain James Van Thach forewent a career in law after graduating from Touro Law School. Instead, Van Thach volunteered for a two-year tour in Iraq where multiple attacks and injuries caused him to medically retire. Van Thach still serves but now in the form of touring the world with his canine companion. He speaks from experience to motivate other Veterans to seek help with depression, PTSD, or other issues in order to reduce the suicide rate among Veterans. This Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient’s design represents his New York City roots in law, his ideals of truth and fairness, and his continued outreach to his fellow Veterans.
  • MCMXCIV (1994) is the year Thach enlisted in the Army. MMXIII (2013) was his most recent tour to Afghanistan to speak to 1,500 troops about canine companions and how they can save a veterans’ life.
  • The silhouette of Lady Justice and the Statue of Liberty were combined to represent Thach’s legal educational achievements and his hometown near New York City.
  • Lady Justice is holding a U.S. Army saber and the “Scale of Truth & Fairness.” She is also wearing the crown of the Statue of Liberty.
  • Within the ribbon is a heart and star, representing Thach as a Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient.
  • The branches, ropes, and leaves signify Thach reaching out to other veterans in an attempt to raise awareness about veteran suicide.