Monday, November 12, 2012

Mrs. Harding and Veterans

In honor of Veteran's Day (yesterday), I thought I'd post on Mrs. Harding's involvement in veteran's affairs.  While there is scandal around it, during the Harding administration we see the start of the Veteran's Bureau as the US works to deal with the wounded WWI soldiers.  This was a special cause of Mrs. Harding's, before it became "normal" for a First Lady to have a "cause:"
She also made the welfare of wounded and hospitalized veterans her personal cause, getting to know many of the patients at Walter Reed Army Hospital by name, encouraging individual veterans to contact her about problems with their care, and becoming directly involved in the affairs of the Veterans Bureau.

I heard the site director from the Harding Home (Sherry Hall) speak today and she said that Mrs. Harding didn't like to call ahead, but just dropped in at the hospital to visit the veterans whenever.  She liked to come when they weren't expecting her so she could make sure the "regular" care was good enough. It drove the staff nuts!   She had veterans who could be moved brought to the White House for concerts and events. 


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