Tuesday, January 29, 2008

New Vet Voice Piece - Shame Of A Nation

A new piece is up at Vet Voice concerning a topic very close to my heart: education. As I move closer to fall, I'm going to join the educated masses utilizing a G.I. Bill that is everything but generous, falling far short of the benefits enjoyed by millions of veterans before me.

There exists a mantra so cliché, so endlessly hollow that it practically holds little meaning in 2008, as interest in the duel wars has waned considerably since the respective invasions many years ago. I speak, of course, about "Support The Troops." Countless people throughout the country slapped yellow ribbons on their car adorned with the slogan with scarcely a thought, abstaining themselves from the guilt of being the nation that sent their soldiers to one war of reason (Afghanistan) with numbers too few, and another war (Iraq) that no one can rationally explain. Hey, don't look at me, I support the troops.

There are organizations out there who have taken an active interest in the lives of soldiers, post service. The Fund For Veteran's Education is a non-profit that awards scholarships to war veterans that are currently enrolled in college or a technical school. One of the biggest misconceptions civilians have about the military is that education is completely paid for once you leave the service. The common phrase used is "free college," and that is a myth that The Fund For Veteran's Education wants to bust wide open.

To read more, vist Vet Voice.

Previous articles:
Overlooked Heroes Of The War On Terror
Releasing Anbar...Then What?
Diyala: The Forgotten Fight



hucknjim said...

Hi Alex,

Another organization out there that is fighting for Iraq and Afghanistan vets both in theater and especially after, is IAVA.org, aka Iraq Afghanistan Veterans Association. They have just launched a push for a new GI Bill to provide educational benefits for the vets of this generation.

Apart from being a supporter, I have no affiliation with IAVA. Check it out. They are fighting for you and your fellow vets.


MJ Athens said...

Yo dude

When I came home from the Nam in Sept 69 I was getting almost exactly what my old man got on the GI Bill after WWII. After much screaming and hollering they did raise the payments but it took quite some time. Also, I got out 2 months before my 20th (I went in on my 17th at the request of a certain judge) and I had to live in a dorm because I was too young to live off campus at the University of Illinois.

The Minstrel Boy said...

dude, i am a vietnam veteran who was able to attend college on the old G.I. bill. it was an excellent deal. and you're absolutely right that it was largely the base from which our strong middle class of the 50's, 60's and 70's came out of. when they dismantled that system they helped to solidify the separation of classes and stiffen the resistance to moblility. it was especially noticeable on my reservation back in arizona. there is a core of folks, going back to the ww2 vets who served, went to school, and then returned to apply that education among our people. it was truly one of the finest things our nation ever did. of course, they couldn't stand to do something that good for very long. i have supported the efforts of senator webb for a while. i have never felt that it was a good idea to pull up the ladder behind me once i was able to make my way in the world. reaching back to help another is a long, and storied tradition among warriors.

MJ Athens said...

Dude and Minstrel

It was all a matter of timing"
President Lyndon B. Johnson believed that many of his “Great Society” social programs negated the need for sweeping veterans benefits. But, prompted by unanimous support given the bill by Congress, Johnson signed it into law on March 3, 1966.

Almost immediately critics within the veterans’ community and on Capitol Hill charged that the bill did not go far enough. At first, single veterans who had served more than 180 days and had received an “other than dishonorable discharge” received only $100 a month from which they had to pay for tuition and all of their expenses. Most found this amount to be insufficient. In particular, veterans who had endured the hardships of the Vietnam War recoiled at the government’s failure to provide them with the same generous educational opportunities as their World War II predecessors. Consequently, during the early years of the program, only about 25% of Vietnam veterans used their education benefits. But for the next decade, a battle raged in the government to increase veterans’ benefits. Congress succeeded, often in the face of fierce objections from the fiscally conservative Nixon and Ford Administrations, to raise benefit levels. In 1967, a single veteran’s benefits were raised to $130 a month; in 1970 they rose to $175; under the Readjustment Assistance Act of 1972 the monthly allowance rose to $220; in 1974 it rose to $270, $292 in 1976, and then $311 a month in 1977.