Attention A T users. To access the menus on this page please perform the following steps. 1. Please switch auto forms mode to off. 2. Hit enter to expand a main menu option (Health, Benefits, etc). 3. To enter and activate the submenu links, hit the down arrow. You will now be able to tab or arrow up or down through the submenu options to access/activate the submenu links.
Attention A T users. To access the combo box on this page please perform the following steps. 1. Press the alt key and then the down arrow. 2. Use the up and down arrows to navigate this combo box. 3. Press enter on the item you wish to view. This will take you to the page listed.
Veterans Crisis Line Badge
My healthevet badge

VA History Office


VA History Features

PODCAST: Reflections from the Front


Women have been a vital part of the nation’s military from the very beginning. Although they were not able to serve in an official capacity until the twentieth century, women have always found ways to assist war efforts. In a new podcast series, VA History Office interns Parker Beverly and Hannah Nelson take interviews from women Veterans and brings to life the stories of incredible resolve and adversity. CLICK TO READ THE BLOG AND LINK TO PODCAST»

EXHIBIT: American prisoners of war: Honoring those in National Cemeteries


This exhibit presents the American prisoner of war experience and honors the Veterans who are buried in VA national cemeteries. It presents only a sample of the POW Veterans that are buried in VA national cemeteries, but hopes that all the sacrifices, courage, and sufferings POWs experienced are illustrated through the stories of those presented. CLICK TO READ MORE»

COVID-19 bands


The COVID-19 Pandemic changed the course of life for the American public and the Nation’s medical system, including VA medical centers across the country. Many innovations were created by VA staff during the pandemic, some of which are still in use today. The VA History Office launched a broad collection effort to ensure that these items were preserved to catalog the significant impact had on Veteran healthcare. CLICK TO READ MORE»

Patriotic Postcards Sent Memorial Day Greetings


Clara Barton was known as the “Angel of the Battlefield” for ministering to the Union wounded during the Civil War. But her service to the country did not end in 1865. After the war,  she opened at her own expense the Missing Soldiers Office in a boarding house in Washington, D.C. Over the next four years, Barton and her small team of clerks succeeded in determining the fate or whereabouts of more than 20,000 Union soldiers who had been captured or gone missing in the war. CLICK TO READ MORE»

Patriotic Postcards Sent Memorial Day Greetings


Sending Memorial Day Greetings! Over a century ago, the craze for penny postcards with a pretty picture introduced a fast, affordable means to communicate. Like Instagram. Decoration or Memorial Day was a very popular and patriotic greeting theme—depicted with flags, flowers, and veterans. Explore deltiology through a sampling of holiday postcards from the NCA History CollectionCLICK TO READ MORE»

Landscaping at NHVDS


The branches of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers were all designed like military installations, with the residents - the Veterans - centrally located and other amenities nearby. At these branches, landscaping was an essential element to increase the natural beauty of the sprawling campuses. CLICK TO READ MORE»

Nurses serving in World War I


Between April 6, 1917 and November 18, 1918, over 21,000 American women enlisted in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps. This digital exhibit explores and commemorates the lives of California’s Army nurses buried in national cemeteries: Alta Ireland Heron, Vera Marston Rush, Etta Parker, Guilda N. Jones Vicini, and Mayme E. Williamson. CLICK TO READ MORE»

Medgar Evers feature.


Medgar Wiley Evers lived by these words as a champion of Black Civil Rights in the mid twentieth century. His mission to change racial discrimination in America was fueled by his upbringing and tenure in the military. CLICK TO READ MORE»

Houston legacy feature.


On February 22, 2022, the National Cemetery Administration unveiled a wayside sign at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery near seventeen graves of Black World War I soldiers executed by the Army as mutineers after a violent, racially driven melee in Houston. The events led to an immediate, historic change to the courts-martial appellate-review process on January 17, 1918. CLICK TO READ MORE»

Vernice Ferguson


In 1980 Vernice Ferguson was named head of VA’s Nursing Service, the nation’s largest nursing system with 60,000 professionals. She was African American. Only sixty years earlier, the first Black nurses were hired to care for Veteran patients. Ferguson was a teacher, leader, and advocate for racial parity at VA. SHE STRIVED TO BE A 'CHANGE AGENT' IN VA»

President Abraham Lincoln


President Abraham Lincoln’s famed 272-word Gettysburg Address, cast in iron tablets, was placed in national cemeteries in 1909 as part of a nationwide birthday centennial program. When the popular president, born February 12, was honored again in 2009, NCA began to produce more tablets to ensure the speech is in all new national cemeteries. LINCOLN'S GETTYSBURG ADDRESS—AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY»

Marion NHDVS commissary


Providing goods to Veterans, their families, and visitors has been a staple of VA hospitals since their inception at the end of the Civil War. The Veterans Canteen Service (VCS) we know today evolved out of these early stores and VCS formally celebrates its 75th Anniversary this year. 75 YEARS PROVIDING GOODS»

View of Fort Whipple, circa 1919


The present-day Bob Stump VA Medical Center campus in Prescott, Arizona has had a long and interesting history from the time the Arizona Territory was created in 1863. Established as a fort, the facility transitioned over many years to an eventual VA Medical Center campus. FROM FORT TO VAMC»

1st wheelchair b-ball game newsclipping.


In November 1946, a brief article appeared in the Birmingham Star Gazette with an accompanying photo. Patients from the Birmingham VA Medical Center in Van Nuys, California beat the team of doctors they were playing in the first game of wheelchair basketball by a score of 16-6. 1ST WHEELCHAIR B-BALL GAME»

Menu from a Dayton VA Thanksgiving.


As another Thanksgiving is upon us, thoughts turn towards the traditions that surround the holiday, many of them involving food. At the National VA History Center Archives, staff members went looking to see what past Thanksgivings looked like and were rewarded with positive results. THANKSGIVING AT VA»

Halyburton and Grimsley right after capture.


After a night raid by German forces on Nov. 2, 1917, a group of U.S. soldiers became the first group taken prisoner in WWI. Included in the group were Sgt. Edgar Halyburton and Pvt. Clyde Grimsley, and each suffered the privations that occurred in early 20th Century imprisonment. LEARN HOW THEY SURVIVED»

The Best Years of Our Lives poster


When The Best Years of Our Lives premiered in November 1946 - 75 years ago this month, the nation was in transition. World War II was over but the process of demobilizing and discharging 16 million service members was still ongoing. The movie depicted the challenges Veterans faced reintegrating into civilian society and it was so powerful that VA leader General Omar Bradley had the movie shown to employees at the central office. BEST YEARS OPEN EYES»

VA Archives at National VA History Center


National Archives Month - How does VA do it? Many people interested in VA's archives have asked excellent questions about what that team does, how will it expand, and what can be accomplished. As those answers have come clearer at the National VA History Center, Archives Month seemed to be an excellent time to discuss them. ARCHIVES - THE HOW»

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 substitution. 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


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.


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 COVID-19. 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 COVID-19 ARTIFACTS»

History Centers first artifact image.


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»

Connect with us

Subscribe to Receive
Email Updates
  • Benefits:
  • Health Care:
    1-877-222-VETS (8387)
  • VA Inspector General: 1-800-488-8244
  • Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 Press 1


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Blog
  • Youtube
  • Flickr