February 6, 2019 Veterans History Project Launches New Online Exhibit on the GI Bill
Press Contact: Benny Seda-Galarza (202) 707-8732
Public Contact: Megan Harris (202) 707-8205 | Lisa Taylor (202) 707-2333 |
Website: The GI Bill: 75 Years of Opportunity
The Library of Congress Veterans History Project (VHP) today launched, “The GI Bill: 75 Years of Opportunity,” an online “Experiencing War” website feature that explores the impact of the GI Bill on 15 veterans interviewed for the VHP collection.
The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, signed into law on June 22, 1944, and colloquially known as the GI Bill, was a landmark piece of legislation that offered educational benefits, low-cost mortgages, low-interest business loans and unemployment benefits to returning World War II veterans. In the 75 years since its passage, the transformative potential of the GI Bill has continued, as it has provided economic and educational opportunities to generations of veterans.
One of the veterans highlighted in “The GI Bill: 75 Years of Opportunity,” is John William Warner, former Secretary of the Navy and former five-term Senator from Virginia. As both a World War II Navy veteran and Korean War Marine Corps veteran, Warner used the GI Bill to earn his college and law school degrees. During his 2005 VHP oral history interview, he credits this revolutionary legislation for his political success, stating, “If it hadn't been for [his military training] and the GI bill, I wouldn't be sitting here in the United States Senate today. It's as simple as that.”
In 1975, Persian Gulf War Marine Corps veteran Michael Arndt was drawn to military service by the promise of a college education. By 2002, five years after separating from military service, Arndt was in the process of taking full advantage of the GI Bill’s educational benefits. “I'm just having the time of my life in school. It's all coming full circle what I worked for, for 22 years...,” he said.
Two months and 17 days after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Missouri native Kara Ann Kittrell joined the Army, hoping to be deployed to Iraq where she could do her part on behalf of her country. After serving, Kittrell went on to use the GI Bill to earn a degree in International Business.
Other collections featured in “The GI Bill: 75 Years of Opportunity,” include Stanley Karnow, a World War II veteran, who used his educational benefits as the basis for a career as a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, and Korean War veteran Ralph Pyle, who not only purchased a home using the GI Bill, but also obtained his commercial pilot’s license.
Access all of veterans’ collections in “The GI Bill: 75 Years of Opportunity” here: loc.gov/vets/stories/ex-war-gi-bill.html.
Congress created the Veterans History Project in 2000 to collect, preserve and make accessible the firsthand remembrances of U.S. war veterans from WWI through the more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. For more information, visit loc.gov/vets/ or call the toll-free message line at (888) 371-5848. Subscribe to the VHP web feed to receive periodic updates of VHP news and on Facebook @vetshistoryproject.
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