On Thursday, the Department of Veterans Affairs dropped a quote from Abraham Lincoln from its official motto because the former president only used male pronouns in his language.
Fox News reports the VA announced its new mission statement as "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 original motto, adopted by the VA in 1959, was an excerpt from Lincoln's 1865 second inaugural address in which he stated, "To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan."
The new mission statement was crafted after the VA consulted with approximately 30,000 veterans and sampled from "a diverse group that included men and women of every age group, LGBTQ+ veterans, and White, Black, Latino, Asian and Native American veterans," reports Fox News.
The VA said they sampled "dozens of small-group engagements with Veterans to understand what was most important to them in a VA mission statement."
"The new mission statement reflects that VA serves all of the heroes who have served our country, regardless of their race, gender, background, sexual orientation, religion, zip code or identity," the VA added.
The old motto did not directly include women veterans or families and caregivers related to veterans, and was deemed inadequate. The plaques that have the old phrase and are placed on VA facilities will be taken down and replaced with the modern language.
VA Secretary Denis McDonough said, "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."
"We are here to serve all Veterans, their families, caregivers and survivors — and now, our mission statement reflects exactly that," he added.
The VA serves over 600,000 female vets and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America asked the former VA Secretary, David Shulkin, to alter the mission statement in 2018.According to Military.com, Allison Jaslow, a former Army officer and head of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said, "Culture is all about the tone you set at the top, and we believe that the motto is emblematic of the fact that the culture, or at least at the tone, is not being set at the top for equal treatment of women veterans and other veterans. Not only is it an important move for the VA ... we're also trying to get the rest of America to see women veterans."
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