The Department of Veterans Affairs is changing its mission statement.
The new motto, announced in a Thursday news release, includes a gender-neutral change from the previous mission statement.
The old motto referenced both male and female veterans and featured a direct quote from President Abraham Lincoln:
“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 reads as follows:
“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 quote included in the original mission statement — and merely referenced in the new one — is from Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address in 1865, pledging to care for those who served the nation in the Civil War.
We at VA proudly serve all who served. That’s why, today, we’re launching our new mission statement:
“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.” https://t.co/pOC0LMxB4v
— Secretary Denis McDonough (@SecVetAffairs) March 16, 2023
According to the news release, “The previous mission statement is posted in roughly 50% of VA’s facilities. Over the coming months, VA’s new mission statement will replace the previous version.”
Both male and female veterans have always been eligible for treatment at VA facilities.
In the news release, McDonough said the department wanted to include more people in its mission statement.
“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,” he said.
“We are here to serve all veterans, their families, caregivers and survivors—and now, our mission statement reflects exactly that.”
The new gender-neutral motto comes as the VA struggles to counteract an epidemic of veteran suicides.
One estimate indicates that as many as 44 veterans commit suicide every day — well more than twice the official VA estimate of 17 veteran suicides a day, according to the Military Times.
The agency has increased eligibility for veterans to receive in-patient mental health treatment.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.