How the massive, pioneering and embattled VA health system was born

On this day in 1921, President Warren G. Harding cut short his summer vacation at Mount Prospect, New Hampshire, and returned to Washington to sign Public Law 67-47, an act that marked the most ambitious domestic program of his presidency.

The flourish of his fountain pen created a Veterans Bureau meant to take care of and treat disabled war veterans. Formally established on Aug. 9, 1921, all dedicated health and human services for U.S. armed services veterans were sequestered from the...

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