President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944.

Legion to celebrate 70th anniversary of GI Bill

The American Legion is reflecting on the 70-year success story of the GI Bill by hosting a celebration event June 17 in Washington, D.C., at the Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center.

Remarks during the event will be given by American Legion Executive Director Peter Gaytan, Microsoft Policy Counsel and Senior Director Bill Kamela, VA Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity Curt Coy and chairman of The American Legion's 100th Anniversary Honorary Committee Theodore Roosevelt IV.

Attendees of the 70th GI Bill celebration include congressmen, personnel from the U.S. Departments of Defense, Labor and VA, and representatives from groups such as Student Veterans of America, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Wal-Mart and the Home Depot Foundation.

The American Legion, the nation’s largest veterans service organization, etched a permanent place in history in 1944 when it conceived, drafted and led efforts to pass the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, the original GI Bill. The ensuing legislation educated tens of millions of veterans in the second half of the 20th century, creating the U.S. middle class, revolutionizing higher education and dramatically increasing home ownership in America. American Legion Past National Commander Harry Colmery, who helped draft the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, said, “The American Legion proposed this bill … because we believed it to be the duty, responsibility and desire of our grateful people.”