POST 9/11 GI BILL TAKES EFFECT AUGUST Veterans will receive better opportunities for higher education under the new Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Act that takes effect on August 1. This is of great importance to all veterans, but in particular to the Oregonians of National Guard or Reserve Units called to active duty in the war against terrorism. The new GI Bill has enhanced, more equitable benefits for them. It also includes, for the first time, the rights of veterans to transfer educational benefits to family members.
Passage and implementation of the new Post 9/11 GI Bill, the most sweeping revision of the GI Bill in generations, was adopted with bi-partisan support, after long efforts by veterans of The American Legion, and other veterans services organizations. Veterans, although regularly receiving rhetorical recognition for their service, often find the rhetoric belied by the reality of legislators’ deeds. While so many entitlement programs have been established with mandatory funding for some segments of the population, funding for the Veterans Administration remains discretionary, not mandatory. And, while once almost all male members of House and Senate were veterans, now only 101 of the 435 members of Congress are veterans. Similarly, President Obama is the only president in the modern era not to have served in the military other than former President Bill Clinton. Thus, great efforts must be made annually to remind the House and Senate, and the nation, that it is the veteran who has preserved the freedom of the nation and the promises made to veterans must be fulfilled. Passage of the new GI Bill is an example of the extraordinary effort made by veterans to achieve justice.“Passing this historic new GI Bill into law could not have happened without the dedicated efforts of The American Legion, “ acknowledged Rep. Chet Edwards, a sponsor of the bill.
The Legion’s role in the formulation of the new GI Bill has deep historical roots. Members of The American Legion drafted the original Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, popularly known as the GI Bill, in 1944. It was written in longhand on hotel stationery by American Legion Past National Commander Harry Colmery. The GI20 Bill is widely considered the greatest domestic legislation ever passed by Congress. The GI Bill created the largest scholarship program in history and also made home ownership a possibility for a new generation of Americans, transforming the American economy and creating the middle class.
Veterans, including those serving now, and their families, can get detailed information on all the provisions of the Post 9/11 GI Bill is available from The American Legion explains veterans educational benefits in great detail at on its website at www.Legion.org, generally, and particularly at: www.mygibill.org
Rees Lloyd is a longtime civil rights attorney and activist in veterans affairs