The American Legion’s traveling GI Bill exhibit has left Florida, where it spent Jan. 3-5 on display at the Student Veterans of America National Conference, and is headed west to Arkansas.
Starting Jan. 12 for 30 days, “The Greatest Legislation: An American Legion Centennial Salute to the GI Bill” will be on display for the public at the John L. McClellan Memorial Veterans Hospital in Little Rock. The display will be located in the hospital’s Green Atrium, 4300 West 7th St., Little Rock.
The American Legion’s exhibit documents the story of the “greatest legislation,” which The American Legion originally drafted and pushed to passage in 1943 and 1944. It features illustrated panels, video kiosks and artifacts that show the dramatic story of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, the massive effects it had on U.S. society and the ongoing effort to continue improving it for new generations, through to the passage of the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 – the “Forever GI Bill.”
The exhibit has been touring the country since its debut in June 2017 at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. It has also been on exhibit at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas; two Student Veterans of America national conferences; Bob Hope Patriotic Hall in Los Angeles; the Montana Military Museum in Helena, Mont..; the Iowa Gold Star Museum at Camp Dodge, Iowa; and at the 100th National Convention in Minneapolis.
Originally drafted by American Legion Past National Commander Harry W. Colmery in the winter of 1943, the GI Bill transformed the U.S. economy in the second half of the 20th century. Often characterized as America’s most significant social legislation of the last 100 years, it is credited for averting economic disaster after World War II, educating millions, making college and home ownership a reasonable expectation for average Americans, leading to the all-volunteer military and advancing civil rights.