Editor’s note: The following is a statement from VA Secretary Denis McDonough on the passing of former senator from Georgia and then “Veterans Administration” administrator Max Cleland.
Max Cleland. ARLINGTON, VA, UNITED STATES. 09.19.2014. Photo by Staff Sgt. Sean Harp, Defense Imagery Management Operations Center.
All of VA grieves the loss of Senator Max Cleland, an indefatigable public servant and patriot. Senator Cleland served everywhere from the jungles of Vietnam to the halls of Washington to his beloved home state of Georgia, becoming a war hero and the father of the modern VA in the process.
As a young man, he volunteered to serve in Vietnam and earned a Silver Star and Bronze Star for his selfless service. As the director of the Veterans Administration, he shaped VA to be more responsive to his fellow Vietnam Veterans, and VA doctors recognized post-traumatic stress for the first time on his watch. As a Senator, he expanded benefits for Veterans through the G.I. Bill and helped bring the Georgia National Cemetery into existence. And in his later years, he continued his lifelong mission of fighting for our country and caring for its Veterans.
We are, all of us, forever in Senator Max Cleland’s debt. My heart goes out to all those who knew and loved him. We will miss him dearly.
We previously profiled Max Cleland as VA’s “Veteran of the Day” on April 5, 2019.