The original cover and signature page of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, along with the typed and hand-edited speech given by President Franklin D. Roosevelt after signing it, will be showcased at The National WWII Museum in New Orleans beginning June 20 as part of an American Legion centennial salute to the GI Bill.
The bill, drafted and pushed to passage by The American Legion in 1943 and 1944, transformed the United States, building the middle class and democratizing higher education. The exhibit, titled “The Greatest Legislation,” features illustrated panels and touchscreen videos that tell the dramatic story of how The American Legion drafted the measure and overcame numerous challenges to get it to the president’s desk June 22, 1944. It also traces the effects of the bill during the 20th century and its evolution to best serve veterans of the post 9/11 era.
A free reception at the museum is planned at 5 p.m. June 20, followed by a moderated panel discussion led by American Legion 100th Anniversary Honorary Committee Chairman Ted Roosevelt IV. Scheduled panelists include former U.S. Sen. James Webb, who wrote, introduced and championed the Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008; VA Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity Curtis Coy; Student Veterans of America CEO and President Jared Lyon; and American Legion Assistant Director of Veterans Employment and Education John Kamin.
The panel discussion will include remarks from National WWII Museum President Dr. Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller and American Legion Executive Director Verna Jones. The event will include a question-and-answer session were audience members will be invited to share the ways in which the GI Bill has influenced their lives and to discuss the future of the benefit for today’s veterans.
In addition to the cover and signature pages of the original act, on loan from the National Archives, and the speech, on loan from the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, is a pen used by President Roosevelt to sign the bill into law, on loan from The American Legion National Headquarters.
Visitors planning to attend the June 20 event are asked to call ahead at 1-877-813-3329 extension 412.
The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American experience in the war that changed the world – why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today – so that future generations will know the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn. Dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and now designated by Congress as America’s National WWII Museum, it celebrates the American Spirit, the teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifices of the men and women who fought on the battlefront and served on the Home Front. For more information, call 877-813-3329 or 504-528-1944 or visit nationalww2museum.org.
With a current membership of 2.2 million wartime veterans, The American Legion, www.legion.org, was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism, and youth programs. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through more than 13,000 posts across the nation.
SOURCE The American Legion