As the nation watched the military mission end in Afghanistan this week, VA Secretary Denis McDonough said VA is here for all Veterans who need help.

Speaking Aug. 31 at the American Legion National Convention in Phoenix, the secretary specifically addressed Afghanistan Veterans.

“I know that what’s happened in Afghanistan over this past month has been incredibly painful for many of you,” he said. “There is no way that anyone who did not serve in Afghanistan, who did not fight in Afghanistan, who did not bleed in Afghanistan – who did not have loved ones served and fought there –can fully understand how you feel right now.”

Reiterating that nobody can fully understand those thoughts and emotions, he extended a clear message for Afghanistan Veterans. “I want you to know this: we at VA are here for you,” he said.

Speaking less than two weeks before Sept. 11, McDonough noted that Americans chose to run toward the fight.

“When our country was attacked on that fateful morning, so many young Americans – some of whom are here today – made the choice that so many Veterans make, at one point or another in their lives,” he said. “They made a choice to run toward the fight – not away from it.”

Recognizing sacrifice

The secretary addressed the news coming out of Kabul, including those tragically killed during the evacuation in the past week. Veterans, the American public and VA all recognize the sacrifice.

“Their service, your service – your choice to run into the fire – matters, no matter what happens this month or any other month,” he said. “We are all safer for it.”

Because of that run to the fight, McDonough said VA has a sacred obligation to care for Veterans.

“It all comes back to the fundamental promise our nation made to Veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq – the same promise we make to anyone who signs up for military service,” he said. “If you take care of us, we will take care of you. If you fight for us, we will fight for you.”

He sees how Veterans’ effort have made a difference, and that America will not forget those sacrifices.

“I thank you for all you have done – as individuals, as an organization, as partners with VA, and as a Veteran community – to run toward the fight yet again, helping evacuate Americans, Afghan allies, and their families to safety,” he said. “It has made a difference, and saved thousands of lives.

“The nation will always be grateful for what you did, and sacrificed, for us…  and for the burdens that you and your families continue to bear on our behalf,” he said. “We are forever in your debt.”

More information

Need help? Read VA’s four-part series on Afghanistan at

Watch the American Legion National Convention general session below. McDonough’s remarks start at the two hour, 46-minute mark.

By Air Force and Afghanistan Veteran Adam Stump is a public affairs specialist for VA's Digital Media Engagement team

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Published on Sep. 1, 2021

Estimated reading time is 2.4 min.

Views to date: 352


  1. Mr james September 14, 2021 at 5:59 pm

    This is so bogus.

    They are turn the va care and comp in to a money game ppl.

    Let talk about the subcontracting of comp exam to a company owe by Lockheed and martian.

    Look up.who owns qtc company

    This was to help veterans now veterans have to do a freedom of information just to get the results of the exam. It take months to get the results of your own exam.

    Veterans are have to go to bck to bck comp exam. Getting there rating reduce.

    The one company ask a friend could he make it to a exam 2hr away. He couldn’t he had to wait 2 month.for a exam that was still 30 mins away

    His va hospital is 15 mins away..he get all his care there but he can’t get his comp exam done there anymore.

    Now there coming.with community care ppl be easy on what u ask for.

    Yes these programs may help some.

    But why can’t the hospital do comp.exam they have every type of doctor

    Ppl are been seen for comp.exam in motels vans in parking lot. Not make this up

    But look up how much the contract is for that pay Lockheed

    I am not going to even address the claim system
    But I will address one thing why doesn’t the the board of veterans appeal not have a number anymore

    Ppl wake up when they reduce your rating you are at the board

    Now the board doesn’t have a number.

    All call are to the va 1 800 now

    You. Will now never get a issue with the board address now

    I can’t even get a call back from the board it’s been 4 months.

    These are the games there play with veterans.

  2. Andrew Tatta September 10, 2021 at 3:21 am

    I am a Gulf War Veteran, a Patriot who bleeds, red, white, and blue and have Been a longtime patient of the VA healthcare system. Although, it pains my soul to hear the experiences that other Veterans have had with the VA, I understand that the system is not perfect for everyone, at every VA healthcare facility.

    I on the other hand, have been fortunate to receive care from a VA healthcare facility where they have in my case, provided high level of care. There is always room for improvement, but, that is part of life and the fact that they listen to me, speaks volumes. To coin a phrase: A listening ear, speaks louder, than the right words said.

    I appreciate the fact that the Sec of VA has backed up his words with action as the crisis in Afghanistan was unfolding up until now providing virtual resources for Veterans and beefing up Behavioral Health activities to support those in need. As you are all aware, there has been a significant uptick in Veterans calling the crisis hotline, utilizing My Healthy Vet, and other resources.

    I myself, have been using the My Healthy Vet, Messages more frequently,to work through my elevated issues due to my illness, family issues, Covid and Afghanistan.

    God Bless my fellow Veterans, God Bless the Secretary of VA, God Bless the President , and God Bless the United States of America!!

  3. Clay Allan Coker September 5, 2021 at 12:35 pm

    Delay, deny wait till I fcking die!!!

  4. Clay Allan Coker September 5, 2021 at 12:32 pm

    You jerks belong in prison for what you have done to me.

  5. Clay Allan Coker September 5, 2021 at 10:46 am

    More lies. I have literally been begging for mental help to no avail. I have been ignored by doctors and placated by the crisis line over and over again. The Patient Advocates don’t return phone calls. The IG doesn’t return phone calls. The entire VA is a pile of garbage right now. I regret ever serving such a morally inept country. You can all get f@%ked!

  6. Kevin Joyce September 3, 2021 at 7:57 am

    I tried to use the VA medical services after serving for 21 years. I was laid off by my civilian employer after 20 years during the pandemic. I filed for a financial hardship with the VA and was approved. I thought this is going to help my wife and I with some of our medical expenses. I was told by the numerous people I spoke to at the VA there would be no cost for the medical services because of the hardship.

    After a physical and lab work for it the VA had billed my wife’s insurance company almost $2,000. From that the insurance company paid over $1,500 from my wife’s health reimbursement account. I contacted or was contacted by everyone including the Deputy Chief of staff. They all told me there is nothing they can do someone has to pay for the service. I even contacted my Congress person for help with the matter, they abandoned me just like the VA.

    The is no reasonable person who would expect to have their money taken from them when they have received a financial hardship approval and they specifically asked everyone they spoke to “how much am I going to be charged for the service”.

    I strongly recommend getting the information in writing from the VA representatives, since they are not there to protect the Veterans based on my one and only experience with them.

  7. Willard G Prevost September 2, 2021 at 11:23 pm

    War turns boys into Men. We all put our live on the line for Her, the motherland, but our leaders sometimes have an agenda and overlook the PEOPLE who joined and served without knowing how some turn their eyes away. Histroy “IS” for all to see, and can not be changed by bad agendas.

  8. Charles H Gonzalez Ret. USN September 2, 2021 at 5:39 pm

    Haven’t heard anything about Blue Water Navy claim and my appeal in almost two years. Something needsto be done the way the VA handles claims

  9. Melinda September 2, 2021 at 4:59 pm

    The VA is NOT here for all veterans. Most recently it is ONLY here for Iraqi and Afghanistan veterans, followed by Vietnam vets who by the way have been given more than their fair share of attention and the rest of us can go to H—. My VA Hospital is, as far as I’m concerned, shut down and is only a clinic now. No meds come from the pharmacy here either. Veterans can’t get in, can’t get appointments (my provider tells me “if it gets worse go to the closest emergency department” instead of giving me an appointment and checking out what’s going on) and are treated like the enemy. If you have an appointment, you are EXPECTED to allow the VA to violate your HIPAA rights by having some damn secretary ask you for your name and last four, ostensibly to verify that you in fact do have an appointment. Are ALL VA hospitals doing this?? These secretaries do NOT have a right to know what any veteran is being seen for and “granting them access” to our medical records violates our privacy. They claim they only have access to our appointment schedule, well, if they can see the same thing we can, they know exactly every clinic we are seen in and can ultimately figure out what we are seen for. This tramp who runs the Togus VA Hospital needs to be fired for her incompetence. She refuses to talk to veterans about their concerns with these violations and preventing veterans from being seen.

  10. Robert Lewis September 2, 2021 at 1:24 pm

    The doctors that are here in Oklahoma City sucks they have a guide line and they won’t give any pain meds out to the Vets that needs it. Ok I have been in pain for over years all they want to do is give you tubes of salve and tell you it will work and it don’t but let these non American come over here and they take better care of them instead of us true Americans and plus give them money, houses and free medical. Why won’t they do that for us Veterans.

  11. David Bean September 1, 2021 at 11:13 pm

    As a Viet Nam era veteran, I have seen this movie before. I honor President Biden for ending the war that then President Bush started as the Global War on Terror. Any military man knows terror is a tactic, as is shooting. The constitution which all 22 million veterans have sworn to defend, states (only) “The Congress shall have the power… to declare war”. A declaration of war states the condition for its end, and it is the duty of Congress to state that. . . a duty abjured now for 75 years. When that declaration is fulfilled, the authority to kill will be born by the Congress, representative of the People of the United States, and your veteran suicide rate will be at least cut in half, probably far more.

    All the money printed in the trillions cannot pay for the counseling of veterans to free them from their sense of honor. We all swore to Defend the thing. Beyond war being a public decision, not an executive one, the is the fourth amendment. From memory “The right of the people to be secure in person, house, papers and effect shall not be infringed”. That is the Law, to which we commit, and is currently and for long has been honored in the breach.

    Please, address this oversight. It will save at least 300 lives a month.

Comments are closed.

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