On June 22, 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law a particularly transformative piece of legislation. Designed to ease the eventual transition from military to civilian life for the millions of men and women in uniform during World War II, it provided a year’s worth of unemployment compensation, low-cost mortgages, low-interest business loans and, perhaps most notably, educational benefits. Officially titled the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, it came to be known as the GI Bill of Rights, and it would go on to change the lives of countless veterans. In the 75 years since it was created, the GI Bill has undergone a few changes, but it has continued to provide newly-minted veterans with the means to achieve higher education. Indeed, its power is so widely known that it has become an impetus for enlistment.
To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the GI Bill, the Veterans History Project presents the collections of 15 veterans who subsidized their education through this monumental legislation. For some, it enabled the achievement of long-held professional dreams; for others, it opened the door to new career possibilities. Through their stories, we see how the GI Bill has positively shaped the post-war lives of individual veterans who served in conflicts from World War II to Iraq and Afghanistan.