Advocates push to make VA’s motto more inclusive

WASHINGTON DC — As we honor those who have served our country this Veterans Day weekend, there’s a growing push to make sure *all* veterans are included in the Department of Veterans Affairs’ own motto.

The department’s motto currently only references “him” — which critics argue leaves out women, LGBTQ veterans and families of veterans.

Channel 2′s Washington correspondent Samantha Manning spoke with those who are looking to make this change.

The words are prominently displayed outside VA facilities and the headquarters in Washington, D.C.

It reads: “To care for him who shall have borne the battle.”

The VA’s motto comes from former President Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address in 1865.

Over the last few years, there has been a growing push to update the motto.

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Kaitlynne Yancy, associate director of government affairs for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, is one of those pushing for this change.

“It explicitly leaves out women veterans and also veterans who may not identify as a he, so we would really like to see that adjusted,” Yancy said.

The VA does say it will be changing the motto, but the department isn’t saying what the new motto will be.

“The VA motto will indeed change. ... We are currently working with veterans, advocates and others on this change and will share once that coordinated effort concludes,” the VA said in a statement.

The VA wouldn’t give me a timeline for the announcement.

Members of Congress have also been pushing the department for the change for several years.

In 2020, Democrats on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs sent this letter to the VA, writing in part: “We agree the original spirit of President Lincoln’s words was one of inclusion. but today, these words exclude millions of veterans and families.”


Some Republicans on the committee also said they support making the motto more inclusive.

Veterans groups say the time for change is now.

“Adjusting that to be inclusive of every veteran will communicate that all of our veterans belong from the moment they walk through that front door,” Yancy said.

According to the VA, there are more than 2 million women veterans in the country, and women are the fastest-growing group in the veterans population.

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