Sarah Ford | November 7, 2013

Honoring Our Nation’s Veterans: Saving Their Places of Health Care and Healing

by Jenny Buddenborg

Honoring Our Veterans:  Saving Their Places of Health Care and Healing.Next week, on November 11, Americans will celebrate Veterans Day, the federal holiday that honors the millions of heroic men and women who have served our country in the armed forces. More than 150 years ago, the U.S. Congress took action on behalf of these veterans by establishing the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers to serve the physical, mental, and reincorporation needs of veteran soldiers following the Civil War. It was the precursor to the modern-day Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and resulted in 11 medical facilities scattered across the country which included everything from hospitals to residential quarters to farm buildings to cemeteries. Today, five of those campuses are National Historic Landmarks (NHL) and all of them represent the crown jewels of a vast and diverse collection of historic buildings and landscapes that reflect America’s care for its veterans.

Unfortunately, many of these historic assets are threatened because of the VA’s stewardship practices. That is why the National Trust for Historic Preservation named two of the NHL campuses—the Battle Mountain Sanitarium in Hot Springs, S.D., and Milwaukee Soldiers Home in Wisconsin—as National Treasures and is working to save them. Part of the Trust’s advocacy to protect these iconic places was to conduct a study of the VA’s preservation practices of its more than 2,000 historic properties that provide care to our nation’s veterans. The result of that study is a report entitled Honoring Our Veterans:  Saving Their Places of Health Care and Healing.

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Source: National Trust for Historic Preservation

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