Featured Stories - VA History Office
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VA History Office

 

Featured Stories

Substitution in the Civil War

EXHIBIT - SUBSTITUTION IN THE CIVIL WAR

In this VA History exclusive historical EXHIBIT, learn the journey of four Black Americans who joined the Union Army through a provision in the draft known as subsititution. Each man was paid to replace someone drafted - the circumstances unique in each case - and follow their path that led to them being buried in National Cemeteries for their service to their country. CLICK TO READ»

NCS joins VA in 1973

NATIONAL CEMETERY SYSTEM (NCS) JOINS VA - 1973

On September 1, 1973, the Veterans Administration (VA) became the steward of 103 national cemeteries, 22 soldiers’ and government lots in private cemeteries, 7 Confederate cemeteries, and 3 monument sites. It also took responsibility for the procurement of government headstones and markers for eligible veterans. VA was now in the cemetery service. CLICK TO READ»

COVID19 artifact collection.

COVID19 ARTIFACT COLLECTION

As the reality of a global pandemic set in, historians, archivists, and museum professionals recognized the need to collect artifacts telling the story of VA's efforts to care for Veterans against COVID19. Part of that collection fell to the newly established VA History Office which led to its first agency-wide historical preservation effort. Click to learn more on VA'S EFFORTS TO PRESERVE COVID19 ARTIFACTS»

History Centers first artifact image.

ARTIFACT NUMBER 1

The National VA History Center is progressing in the early stages at the Dayton VA Medical Center campus - but artifact collection to fill its rooms has successfully been underway. Less than a year after celebrating the Center's establishment, VAs History and Archive team transferred the first artifact into its collection - a 19th Century Bible from the campus chapel. This is just the beginning. Click to learn more on THE HISTORY CENTER'S FIRST ARTIFACT - WITH MORE TO COME»

VBA 100th Anniversary image

President Warren G. Harding made a commitment to streamline and improve benefit services for the millions of World War I Veterans in the U.S. In August of 1921, he signed the bill creating the Veterans Bureau, the first independent federal agency to manage all facets of Veterans care. The legacy of the Veterans Bureau lives on in the modern VA, which continues its forerunner’s tradition of service to Veterans and their dependents. Click to learn more how 100 YEARS AGO, THE VETERANS BUREAU GOT STARTED»

Also, see a companion piece on the history of the Winston-Salem Regional Office»

The Purple Heart

During the American Revolution, General George Washington created the first military award for Continental Army Soldiers - the Badge of Military Merit - later reinstated in 1932 as the Purple Heart. Since then, more than 1.8 million Purple Hearts were awarded to wounded service members . The award has special relationship to the VA as it is tied to many different benefits within the system. Click to learn more about the VA AND THE PURPLE HEART»  

At the end of the feature is a quiz - test your knowledge and at dinner tonight, share a bit of trivia with the family!

Remembering the USS Indianapolis.

In 1945, as World War II was ending, the U.S. cruiser USS Indianapolis was sunk by a Japanese submarine, igniting a quest for survival for the hundreds of sailors stranded in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Today, only a few of those survivors remain, and National Cemetery Administration Historian Richard Hulver memorializes some of those Veterans, who are buried at national cemeteries across the world. REMEMBER USS INDIANAPOLIS»

The Veterans Administration was born on July 21 1930.

The Veterans Administration was created on July 21, 1930 when President Herbert Hoover signed an executive order that merged three agencies into one. Barbara Matos details the early beginnings of the Veteran Administration, from a story printed last year to celebrate the 90th Anniversary. HAPPY BIRTHDAY VA - LEARN ABOUT THE BEGINNING»

John Pitzer enlisted into the Union Army during the Civil War as emancipation policies improved.

The American Civil War began in April 1861 and within a month, enslaved African Americans seeking shelter behind Union lines shifted the war’s objectives - improving emancipation policies. NCA intern Jacob Klinger dives into the experience of Soldier John Pitzer, who served in this dynamic time period and is memorialized at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis. JOHN PITZER - JOURNEY TO LOUTRE ISLAND»

Baseball has been a past time at the VA since first inception.

Throughout the history of Veterans health care, sports have always served as a means of rehabilitation and healing. While many sports and recreational activities have been incorporated into the fabric of Veterans hospitals, one sport stands out for its popularity and impact on Veterans - baseball. PLAY BALL - BASEBALL AT THE VA»

Celebrate Independence Day at 1875 Dayton VAMC.

How did Veterans from the Civil War celebrate their country's Independence Day in 1875? In a feature that appeared last year on the VA Insider digital platform, a unique perspective is gained in a late 19th Century July 4th celebration. INDEPENDENCE DAY AT A NHDVS CAMPUS IN 1875»

NCA's World War II Burial Program.

This National Cemetery Administration (NCA) publication is the first in a series on topics related to World War II. For the VA History Office's first Memorial Day features post, take time to learn NCA's efforts to memorialize the men and women who served in that epic conflict and who now rest in cemeteries managed by VA. NCA's WORLD WAR II BURIAL PROGRAM »

Dr. Andrew Schally, Nobel Prize laureate.

Dr. Andrew Schally was born in Poland, and through early struggles under German occupation during World War II, started a journey as a medical researcher that would take him to VA and groundbreaking research on hormones. In this feature by VA History intern Parker Beverly, follow along Dr. Schally's career as his medical research was recognized in 1977 with the Nobel Prize.  DR. ANDREW SCHALLY NOBEL PRIZE ACHIEVEMENTS»

Lincoln stained glass window.

After the Civil War concluded, the Veteran service organization Grand Army of the Republic commissioned multiple stained glass windows that were early powered light displays. Two survive today at VAs in Leavenworth, Kansas and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. STAINED GLASS WINDOWS HISTORY »

Dr. Rosalyn Yalow, VA medical researcher and Nobel Prize laureate.

In 1977, Dr. Rosalyn Yalow, a medical researcher and doctor at the Bronx VA Hospital, became the second woman awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. In an exhibit crafted by VA History intern Parker Beverly, learn how Dr. Yalow strived to break through gender barriers in the medical field to become an expert in radioimmunoassay. HER STORY PRESENTED IN A NEW SPARK EXHIBIT AND FEATURE »

NCA Monument dedication in 1895.

Since Memorial Day was instituted in 1868 (initially as Decoration Day), this event at the end of May became an opportunity to dedicate new monuments in national cemeteries. National Cemetery Administration Senior Historian Sara Amy Leach details some of the approximately 100 monuments dedicated on this holiday. NCA MONUMENTS DEDICATED ON MEMORIAL DAY »

Gen. Omar Bradley.

Soon after World War II concluded, Gen. Omar Bradley, fresh off relinquishng command of the U.S. Army's Twelfth Army Group, was given a critical mission back stateside - take charge of the Veterans Adminsitration and prepare to support the millions of Veterans coming back home.  STORY ON HOW GEN. BRADLEY SHAPED THE VA FOR THE FUTURE »

Postcard image - minimized.

Postcards were used frequently in the late 19th and early 20th century to capture Veterans' daily life at the 11 different National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers branches. Check out the artwork and photographs from that era in this exhibit by VA History Office intern Kara Wheeler. NHDVS EXHIBIT »

Stinson in aircraft.

Katherine Stinson was an early aviation pioneer, becoming the fourth woman to receive a pilot license in the nation. Her flying career took her to the doorsteps of World War I and back. THE KATHERINE STINSON STORY»

Image of Dorris Miller

Doris Miller joined the Navy in 1939, on the eve of World War II, as a mess attendant. He was assigned to a battleship at Pearl Harbor, and on Dec. 7, 1941, performed acts of gallantry that earned him the Navy Cross. THE DORIS MILLER STORY»

Image of Florence Standish

Florence Standish was a nurse who worked on the historic Asheville VA Medical Center campus in the early 20th Century when the Army maintained the hospital. A photo found by a local VA employee began a journey that helped identify this pioneering nurse. THE FLORENCE STANDISH STORY»

75th Anniversary

This year marks the 75th Anniversary of the Veterans Health Administration, established in 1946 by then VA Administrator General Omar Bradley and Medical Director Major. General Paul Hawley, M.D. View the video » and read the timeline »

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