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IAVA’s Call for VA Motto Change Finally Answered

IAVA boldly first called for a change to the VA’s gender-exclusive motto in 2017

March 16, 2023

Washington, D.C. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the leading post-9/11 veterans advocacy organization, celebrates the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) decision to finally change its motto to be more gender-inclusive. 

The new VA motto –  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’’ –  now addresses the exclusion reflected in the previous version, “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan.” 

“In 2017, IAVA was the first major veterans organization to make women veterans its number one priority. We launched our She Who Borne the Battle campaign that same year, and have been calling for a change to the VA’s motto ever since,” said Iraq War veteran and IAVA CEO Allison Jaslow. “For too long, women and LGBTQ+ veterans have been considered ‘invisible veterans’ — feeling inadequately recognized by our fellow Americans. Today’s historic move by the VA rightly begins to change that. We’re one step closer to changing the way America sees its veterans today, and that’s a damn good reason to celebrate.”

The VA’s own data reports women veterans feeling unwelcome and even unsafe at VA health centers, causing them to delay or refuse to seek care. Calls to change the motto were about inclusion, but also call to action to improve the overall culture at the VA, and once realized will ensure all veterans are able to utilize the healthcare they’ve earned and deserve.  

“Calling for a change to the VA’s motto was also always about more than words,” Jaslow continued. “It was about the need for culture change at the VA and setting the right tone from the top. We must be relentless until the culture at the VA makes every veteran, and their loved ones, feel like they’re supported fully.”  

IAVA is the voice for the post-9/11 veteran generation. With over 425,000 veterans and allies nationwide, IAVA is the leader in non-partisan veteran advocacy and public awareness. We drive historic impacts for veterans and IAVA’s programs are second to none. Any veteran or family member in need can reach out to IAVA’s Quick Reaction Force at or 855-91RAPID (855-917-2743) to be connected promptly with a veteran care manager who will assist. IAVA’s The Vote Hub is a free tool to register to vote and find polling information. IAVA’s membership is always growing. Join the movement at


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