The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has updated its mission statement for the first time in over six decades to be more inclusive of the diverse individuals it serves, including LGBTQ+ veterans and their families. The previous mission statement, dating back to 1959, referred to “him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan,” omitting mention of women or non-binary individuals in the military. The VA’s new mission statement, which was crafted after surveying 30,000 veterans and conducting focus groups, now states that the department is committed to serving “those who have served in our nation’s military and for their families, caregivers, and survivors.”
VA Secretary Denis McDonough expressed the importance of the new mission statement’s inclusivity, stating, “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.” The VA emphasized that the updated mission statement is “inclusive of all those who have served in our nation’s military – including women Veterans – as well as Veteran families, caregivers, and survivors.” The department’s new mission statement reflects its commitment to providing comprehensive care for all individuals who have served in the military, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.
The VA’s new mission statement also acknowledges the crucial role that caregivers and survivors play in supporting veterans. The department helps over 50,000 caregivers and more than 600,000 survivors, and its updated mission statement reflects its commitment to providing support to these individuals as well. By recognizing the diversity of those it serves, the VA is taking a significant step towards ensuring that all veterans and their families receive the comprehensive care they deserve.
Today, VA Secretary Denis McDonough will commemorate the new mission statement in a ceremony at 2 p.m. This historic update to the VA’s mission statement represents a significant milestone in the department’s commitment to providing inclusive care to all veterans and their families.