Department of Veterans Affairs Act signed 27 years ago


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Twenty-seven years ago, on Oct. 25, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed Public Law 100-527, known as the Department of Veterans Affairs Act, and elevated the Veterans Administration to the 15th Cabinet-level department in the federal government. The historic bill-signing took place at Ft. McNair in Washington, D.C., roughly a week before the 1998 presidential election. The law delayed full implementation of the Act until March 1989 when the new incoming president could appoint someone of his own choice to head the new department. For this reason, VA recognizes both dates—when the law was signed/enacted and when it became fully effective as significant to its history.

Roughly two weeks after the October 1988 bill-signing, a nationwide employee contest was held for the design of a new official seal to reflect VA’s new status. More than 100 designs were submitted. David E. Gregory, an illustrator at the Indianapolis VA Medical Center, drew the winning design. The Army’s Center for Heraldry assisted with final specifications on the seal, as well as the design for the new department’s flags.

Edward J. Derwinski was appointed as the last VA Administrator on March 1, 1989, by President George H.W. Bush and became the first Secretary of the new Department of Veterans Affairs fifteen days later when the Act took full effect. Derwinski was a World War II Veteran, banker and politician who served as VA Secretary until 1992. Secretary Derwinski made the decision to retain the “VA” moniker for the new department, instead of implementing the use of “DVA,” because it had been a familiar phrase within American culture for over 50 years.

Author

Darlene Richardson

– Darlene Richardson is an historian with the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Veterans Health Administration.

Comments

  1. Wm Hampton    

    The Atlanta Regional Office has not gotten the message, that they are their to help vets. It seems they think it is their mandate to place as many traps they can for vets to trigger, which stops the process. The director hides out and doesn’t talk with vets who are having problems with “his” people.If you have a management persons name and write them they don’t reply. It seems they hold vets in contempt, because they know we can do nothing to affect their position; they will get their bonus whether they do their job or not.
    It seems the administration, house and senate are impotent when it comes to regulating the VA and getting rid of the dead wood.
    The Atlanta VA medical center is making great progress. Ms Wiggins might want to take a shot at the regional office next.

  2. DannyG    

    Although I am thankful for all 3 branches of the DVA, I wonder how it’s founders would feel abt the way it has become so corrupt. VA “executives” stealling from the moving fund; allowing subordinates to hide facts that caused American Veterans to die, while they collected bonuses; etc. The ONE thing the VETERANS Administration has going for it, is that Secretary McDonald is trying to straighten it out! Then, you have this jackass from Connecticut, Senator Blumenthal, who wants to block VA’s ability to hold them accountable! I heard on the news that the senator also (FALSELY) claimed to be a Vietnam Vet; doesn’t that make him guilty of
    STOLEN VALOR? Oh, I forgot, this is Obama’s regime; the law & constitution don’t matter if you’re on his team! I LOVE MY COUNTRY, BUT DON’T TRUST THE GOV’T AT ALL! !!
    THEY HAVE FORGOTTEN THAT WITHOUT VETERANS, AMERICA WOULD NOT EXIST !!

    1. DannyG    

      A true friend called me today abt this post. He said I should watch out & not be so “radical”, because someone might not like what I said. (Your point?)

      I took an oath 40 yrs ago to protect the elected leader of this great country, & would fulfill that oath with my own life today! Damn it! I don’t like or trust the gov’t, but I vote in every election, I served my country for over 9 yrs, and I will exercise my 1st Amendment rights!

      I Love My Country!!

  3. Roberto B. Ansag    

    Im very glad the U.S government support very much the Veterans.If my grandfather still alive at this time.He ‘s gonna proud the U.S.government .He is a Philipine Scout during WW2 killed in action feb.1945 at southwest pacific .Laguna.Phils.He is Pfc.Raymundo E. Ansag of the post fort William Mckinley.

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