The American Legion’s traveling GI Bill exhibit will be on display at the Morton Museum of Collierville History in Tennessee.
“The Greatest Legislation: An American Legion Centennial Salute to the GI Bill” will be available for the public to view from Sept. 12 through the end of October at the museum, located at 196 North Main St., Collierville, Tenn. The museum is opened Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and closed Sunday and Monday.
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; the 100th National Convention in Minneapolis; Department of New Jersey convention; the Intrepid Museum in New York City as part of Fleet Week; and at the Indiana State Capitol for the 101st National Convention in Indianapolis.
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.