A Department of Veterans Affairs sign with the old mission statement
A Department of Veterans Affairs signPhoto: Shutterstock

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has changed their mission statement for the first time since 1959 to be more inclusive of the kinds of people the department is charged to care for and to be gender-neutral to better acknowledge the contributions of women and non-binary people in the military.

The VA’s old mission statement was: “To fulfill President Lincoln’s promise ‘to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan by serving and honoring the men and women who are America’s veterans.”

The new mission statement is: “To fulfill President Lincoln’s promise to care for those who have served in our nation’s military and for their families, caregivers, and survivors.”

“Whenever any Veteran, family member, caregiver, or survivor walks by a VA facility, we want them to see themselves in the mission statement on the outside of the building,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “We are here to serve
all Veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors – and now, our mission statement reflects exactly that.”

The VA stressed that the mission statement would be “inclusive of all those who have served in our nation’s military – including women Veterans – as well as Veteran families, caregivers, and survivors.” They said that the VA helps 50,000 caregivers and over 600,000 survivors.

The VA said that 30,000 veterans were surveyed while they researched and worked on the new mission statement and conducted focus groups to understand what people thought was important about the mission statement of the VA.

McDonough will commemorate the new mission statement today in a ceremony at 2 p.m.

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