10/25/1988 President Reagan with Thomas Turnage signs the Department of Veterans Affairs Act HR 3471 at National Defense University in Fort McNair Virginia

The Navy Safe Harbor Foundation (NSHF) provides an online newsletter "The Beacon" dedicated to supporting the recovery of seriously wounded, ill, and injured Sailors, Coast Guardsmen, their families, and Sea-Service Veterans. With a salute to President Ronald Reagan, The Beacon links to a wide-array of corporations, organizations, and programs supporting the prosperity and careers of Navy and Coast Guard Wounded Warriors.

President Ronald Reagan elevated the United States Veterans Administration to a cabinet-level executive department by in October 1988. The change took effect March 15, 1989, and administrative changes occurred at all levels. President George H. W. Bush hailed the creation of the new Department, saying,  "There is only one place for the Veterans of America, in the Cabinet Room, at the table with the President of the United States of America." The Veterans Administration was then renamed the Department of Veterans Affairs, and continued to be known as VA.

The United States has the most comprehensive system of assistance for Veterans of any nation in the world, with roots that can be traced back to 1636, when the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony were at war with the Pequot Indians. The Pilgrims passed a law that stated that disabled soldiers would be supported by the colony. Later, the Continental Congress of 1776 encouraged enlistments during the Revolutionary War, providing pensions to disabled soldiers. In the early days of the Republic, individual states and communities provided direct medical and hospital care to Veterans. In 1811, the federal government authorized the first domiciliary and medical facility for Veterans. Also in the 19th century, the nation's Veterans assistance program was expanded to include benefits and pensions not only for Veterans, but for their widows and dependents.