To the editor:

March 15 was a historic day for our nation's 27 million veterans. It marked the transition of their agency, the Veterans Administration, to the Department of Veterans Affairs and elevates VA to the president's Cabinet.In making this change, Congress and the president recognized what we in the VA have long known: military veterans (who, with their families, constitute a third of our population) deserve representation at our highest level of government. Their contribution to our way of life and their needs influence people and events far beyond the bounds of "veterans affairs."

- Veterans are served by the nation's largest hospital system which plays vital national roles in medical education and research.

- Veterans buying homes throughout the VA guaranteed home loan program are a major economic force in the national real estate, home building and mortgage lending industries.

- Veterans continue to be a major force in the financing of higher education through their participation in popular GI Bill education assistance programs.

Salt Lake City VA Regional Office is proud to be a part of the nation's newest Cabinet department.

Douglas Wadsworth

Director, Regional Office

Veterans Administration