The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are firing volleys at encroaching feminists, standing their ground on tradition and principle, and refusing to gender-neutralize their motto to appease a minority. The 59-year old maxim is a direct quote from President Abraham Lincoln’s second Inaugural address and it carries the weight and responsibility of battle-torn Americans still today.
“To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan,” is the phrase up for debate with one veteran’s organization, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), and on face value, they have a point. Hospitals and care clinics across the nation proudly display the motto on front doors, hallways, plaques, and most prominently at their headquarters in The Swamp.
Right Idea? Wrong Reasons
We could do with an update. But not for reasons cited by the organization that some female vets feel excluded and forgo care. Allison Jaslow, IAVA Executive Director, is a veteran and was a recipient of a cooler welcome, she believes, versus male vets, and believes it’s due to the slogan’s umbrella of protecting a male-oriented culture:
“When Jaslow used the VA in 2008, veterans would assume she was a nurse and ask for directions, she said. Army Reserve veteran Kate Hoit, who returned from Iraq in 2005 and advocated for legislation alongside Jaslow, has said she was also made to feel like she didn’t quite belong. In Cleveland, one female veteran told them that VA employees assumed she was a spouse. Another veteran said VA workers didn’t believe she was a combat veteran.”
All because of a motto, and poor manners of ignorant VA employees, women vets won’t attempt to seek care? That is a big stretch even for the bureaucratic toadies who have, over the years, almost demolished the VA. Women vets are superheroes; are they going to slink off in a corner after a stint on the front lines in Afghanistan, or are they going to throw open the doors and get down to business?
Taking Care of Business
Gender barriers have been broken on the backs of the first women to push for serving their country in non-traditional roles. I’m talking about Andrew’s Sisters’ era of women enlisting in reserves for the sole purpose of freeing up men, who held those positions, to fight where needed in combat:
“During World War II, the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard also established reserves for women. The Navy began Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) in 1942. More than 84,000 WAVES worked in administrative, medical, and communication jobs. The Coast Guard set up a women’s reserve, in 1942, called SPARS, meaning Semper Paratus / Always Ready. A year later, the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve began. Most Marine women served stateside and by the end of the war, 85% of the personnel at the U.S. Marine Corps Headquarters were women. These reserves were created so that more men could go fight overseas. Also in 1943, the Air Force created Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASP). WASPs were civilians who flew stateside while male pilots served overseas.”
These women broke the mold. But those who currently serve, and the veterans who paved the way for advancement, are lobbing grenades here and there, shattering the remains of a once traditionally male-dominated environment. As they should. But not by modifying the quote of one of America’s beloved presidents. Kayla Williams the director of the VA Center for Women Veterans, says that the quote is already being mangled, within the VA as staffers are using this version; “To care for those who shall have borne the battle and their families and survivors.”
Stop this nonsense. Let Lincoln’s words stand as a testament to this Nation’s unending respect for those who serve so that the rest of us can go along our merry ways, safe and sound. Create if you must, and you should, a tagline to the aphorism that welcomes everyone for care and comfort who served with honor. But let’s dismiss this silly idea of putting words in Abraham Lincoln’s mouth by rewriting his inaugural address for selfish purposes.