VA makes it motto more gender ‘inclusive’
March 17, 2023

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced that it will change its motto to use gender-neutral language that recognizes all who have served.

The current motto, “To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan,” has been in use for nearly 60 years. However, many have criticized it for being outdated and exclusionary.

The VA Secretary Denis McDonough said in a statement, “We are proud of the work we do for all Veterans, including women, LGBTQ+ Veterans and military families, and the updated motto reflects our commitment to serving all who have served our country.”

The change was announced by VA Secretary Denis McDonough, who said the new motto would “serve to remind us of our collective responsibility to care for veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors.” McDonough also noted that the change was long overdue and that the VA must continue to work towards greater inclusion and equality for all those who have served in the military.

The new motto will be  “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.”

The change was applauded by many Veterans advocacy groups, who have long called for more inclusive language from the VA. The American Military Partner Association called it an “historic step forward.”

The move towards more gender-neutral language has been a growing trend in recent years, with many organizations and governments adopting similar changes. The state of Washington, for example, recently passed a law requiring all public documents to use gender-neutral language.

The VA’s decision to change its motto reflects a broader effort to make the organization more welcoming and inclusive to all Veterans.

However, some have criticized the change, arguing that it erases the historical context of the original motto, which was inspired by a quote from Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address. Others have suggested that the VA should focus on improving access to care and benefits for veterans, rather than changing its motto.

While some may see this change as merely symbolic, it sends a powerful message that the VA is committed to serving all who have served our country, regardless of their gender identity. As Secretary McDonough said, “This is about making sure that all Veterans feel welcomed, respected, and understood.”

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