Who Bore the Battle: The VA’s New Motto Honors ALL Veterans

Apr 11, 2023

The Department of Veterans Affairs has finally updated its motto to be more inclusive and representative of the contributions of all veterans to our nation’s military. Our President, Mary Beth Bruggeman, was in attendance as VA Secretary Denis McDonough shared her story as an example of the journey so many of our women veterans have gone through. 

“Today we took one small but incredibly meaningful step forward to include ALL veterans in the VA mission statement, and that feels really damn good,” said Bruggeman, a proud Marine Corps veteran. “Thank you to Secretary McDonough and his amazing team for making this day possible for all veterans, and for including a chapter of my story in his speech.”

READ: More stories from our veterans

There have been increasing discussions and calls for the VA to update its motto to better represent the increasing number of women and LGBTQ+ individuals who have served and continue to serve in the military. Veterans’ organizations like The Mission Continues have led these calls and discussions. In 2020, we launched “She Who Borne The Battle,” a campaign to update the VA motto to be more inclusive. The campaign raised awareness about the need for a more inclusive motto and received support from our partner VSO like Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and the Disabled American Veterans (DAV). 

The VA’s new motto is:

“To fulfill President Lincoln’s promise to care for those ‘who shall have borne the battle,’ and for their families, caregivers, and survivors.”

“The new 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. VA currently serves more than 600,000 women Veterans, the fastest growing cohort of Veterans. VA also serves more than 50,000 Veteran caregivers, more than 600,000 Veteran survivors, and millions of Veterans who did not serve in combat.

In crafting the new mission statement, VA surveyed roughly 30,000 Veterans. Among Veterans surveyed, the new version of VA’s mission statement was chosen over the current version by every age group; by men and by women; by LGBTQ+ Veterans; and by white, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian and American Indian/Alaska Native Veterans.”

Honoring ALL Veterans

This new motto recognizes the contributions of all veterans, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. While this is a significant step forward, there is still work to be done to create a more inclusive environment of healthcare for all veterans. According to a study by the VA, women veterans have unique healthcare needs, such as reproductive health and mental health concerns, that may not be adequately addressed in a culture that primarily focuses on men’s health needs. From the Revolutionary War to the present day, women have played a vital role in defending our country. In recent years, women have increasingly served in combat roles and have made significant contributions to our military’s success. We ALL deserve to be recognized and honored for our sacrifices and dedication. Let’s continue to fight and stand together. Charlie Mike! 

A cohort of veterans from The Mission Continues’ Women Veterans Leadership Program at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial,
National memorial in Arlington County, VA. upon graduation of the program.


About The Mission Continues 

The Mission Continues is a national veterans organization dedicated to empowering veterans as community-based leaders. We invest in veterans and under-resourced communities, developing new skill sets and equipping a growing veteran volunteer movement with the tools to drive positive change. We deploy veteran volunteers in more than 40 cities nationwide alongside nonprofit partners and community leaders to improve educational resources, address food insecurity, increase access to parks and green spaces, foster neighborhood identity, and more.

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