On July 21, 1930, President Herbert Hoover signed Executive Order 5398, an order that established the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) as an independent agency. On March 15, 1989, Public Law 100-527 elevated the Department to Cabinet level to better meet the needs of those making use of it. This followed a long tradition of the country assisting those who served to protect the land and its citizens. In 1636, the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony enacted a law to support disabled soldiers that had defended the colony.
President Lincoln once declared America was “To care for him who shall have borne in battle, and for his widow, and his orphan” and to serve and honor those men and women who are veterans of America’s wars. This remains the purpose of the agency today.