New legislation establishes National VA History Center in Dayton

Pictured is Building 116, the Old Headquarters. One of the buildings a part of National VA History Center project in Dayton. Photo courtesy of Dayton VA Medical Center.

Ava Wiant | Contributing Writer

U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown and J.D. Vance as well as U.S. Reps. Mike Turner and Greg Landsman have introduced bipartisan legislation known as the Veterans Affairs Centennial and Heritage Act of 2024, with the primary goal of permanently establishing the National VA History Center in Dayton, situated within the Dayton VA Medical Center campus.

The center is where various VA-related artifacts, photographs, records and other historical materials will be brought and preserved.

Its presence is expected to significantly contribute to tourism, job creation, education and economic development in the greater Dayton region. The National VA History Center also will take on responsibilities for coordinating public education and outreach efforts. 

Passage of the Veterans Affairs Centennial and Heritage Act of 2024 would signify a pivotal moment in America’s commitment to honoring and preserving the legacy of our veterans. By establishing the National VA History Center at the Dayton VA Medical Center campus, this legislation not only safeguards the rich history of the Department of Veterans Affairs but also serves as a beacon of remembrance for generations to come. 

Jeff Hoagland, president and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition, said in a prepared statement that the initiative not only ensures Ohio’s pivotal role in commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2030 but also perpetuates a profound sense of gratitude and respect for those who have served our nation. 

Ultimately, this initiative aims to honor veterans from all over and underscore America’s commitment to supporting them. 

Overall, the bipartisan nature of this legislation underscores the significance and broad support for preserving and promoting the history of veterans’ service in the United States. 

Sam Surowitz, director of Military and Veteran program services at the University of Dayton, said, “the Dayton community of veterans and the surrounding area is a really strong community,” conveying how important the VA History Center is and how much this location means to veterans. 

Surowitz also said “this will be a genuine and authentic center that presents real history,” alongside honoring veterans for their sacrifices. 

On the legislation side, Sen. Brown (Democrat) said, “Ohio is home to thousands of veterans who sacrificed for our country, and thousands of Ohioans who serve them. Dayton’s VA Medical Center’s 150-year history is part of why it was so important to designate Dayton as the permanent location for the history center where we’ll be able to honor veterans and preserve their stories for years to come.” 

The introduction of the Veterans Affairs Centennial and Heritage Act of 2024 demonstrates a commitment to honoring the sacrifices of veterans and recognizes the importance of preserving their stories for future generations. By establishing the National VA History Center in Dayton, policymakers are ensuring that the legacy of U.S. veterans remains alive and vibrant. On top of that, this initiative is about providing a platform for education, reflection, and appreciation of the contributions made by servicemen and servicewomen. 

The members of Ohio’s Congressional delegation introduced the legislation in January.

For more news on current events click here to see our coverage of Ohio’s minimum wage increase.

Flyer News: Univ. of Dayton's Student Newspaper