Veter­ans want VA to change sex­ist motto

The Buffalo News - - WASHINGTON NEWS -

WASH­ING­TON – A lead­ing or­ga­ni­za­tion of Iraq and Afghanistan war veter­ans wants the Depart­ment of Veter­ans Af­fairs to change its motto be­cause, the group’s lead­ers say, the words first is­sued by Abra­ham Lin­coln – “To care for him who shall have borne the bat­tle and for his widow, and his or­phan” – are out­dated and, more im­por­tant, they ex­clude the many con­tri­bu­tions made by mil­i­tary women.

“By ex­clud­ing women,” Iraq and Afghanistan Veter­ans of Amer­ica Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Al­li­son Jaslow wrote in her let­ter to VA, “it ... com­mu­ni­cates to women veter­ans that they are un­wel­come out­siders.”

When considered in con­cert with VA’s most re­cent vet­eran sui­cide statis­tics, the is­sue takes on dis­tinct ur­gency. Ac­cord­ing to the study, fe­male veter­ans’ risk for com­mit­ting sui­cide is more than dou­ble that of Amer­i­can women who have not served in the mil­i­tary.

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