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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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GI Bill celebration

The+%26%238220%3BGreatest+Legislation%26%238221%3B+exhibit+will+be+on+display+in+the+atrium+of+the+Bush+Library+until+Aug.+15+and+is+free+to+view.
Photo by Photo by Meredith Seaver

The “Greatest Legislation” exhibit will be on display in the atrium of the Bush Library until Aug. 15 and is free to view.

A new multimedia traveling exhibit sponsored by the American Legion features insight about the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, otherwise known as the GI Bill, and is on display in the atrium of the George Bush Presidential Library.
The exhibit, “The Greatest Legislation: An American Legion Centennial Salute to the GI Bill,” is an audio-visual display which shows the impact of the benefits that veterans have earned throughout their time in the military. Benefits included in the bill range from education and housing to employment.
John Hince, American Legion commander for the state of Texas, said the bill rightfully supports those who serve in the military.
“They’re young men and women that are willing to put down their lives for this great country that have come and served and they should have that right to an education,” Hince said.
The exhibit on display refers to the GI Bill as a “success in progress” and has three large sections with a timeline of important developments. These events include the Veterans Readjustment Benefits Act of 1966, the Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008, and the current Forever GI Bill, signed by President Donald Trump last August.
“The GI Bill has made us more of an egalitarian society, where this benefit makes more of a difference while serving more than just a handshake and a thank you,” Hince said.
The American Legion is the largest veterans service organization in the country, with over 2 million members. While the American Legion looks to help the transition of veterans into civilian life, they also help provide financial assistance and donate household items to veterans and their families. The organization has been a long-time sponsor of job fairs, which help veterans find work to provide for their families.
David Anaya, George Bush Presidential Library public relations director, oversees the exhibits and said the GI Bill has impacted him personally.
“I think this exhibit is going to give the perspective on how the American Legion Foundation gives the benefit to our war fighters from young to old,” Anaya said. “I’ve been able to even use it myself, which has not only helped me for my education, but my career as well.”
The exhibit features audio and video recordings of 18 veterans who told stories of their military careers and what they did after their retirement.
One interview shown on video is of Army veteran Kiara Blanchard saying, “I feel I wouldn’t have continued my education if I didn’t have the GI bill. I wouldn’t have been able to afford it.”
On June 28, the museum hosted a Q&A panel discussion to celebrate the exhibit’s opening and the 10th Anniversary of the Post 9/11 GI Bill. One of the individuals featured on the panel was military admissions counselor at Texas A&M, Karen Allen.
“What I was surprised about the exhibit, is what I do every day helping find soldiers and their benefits, I thought I knew the history of the bill and what goes into it. I was wrong,” Allen said. “It covers so much in a such a setting that you understand how the country and even how veterans were treated during that time.”
Allen and her staff are located in the Veterans Resource and Support Center and are in charge of 1,500 student veterans and 2,300 students that benefit from the GI/Post 9/11 benefits.
“I think the key to stay involved in our veteran generation is to inform and educate people and this exhibit does that, where it goes more than just a thank you,” Allen said. “It adds that value, not only to the College Station area, but onward as well.”
The GI Bill “Greatest Legislation” exhibit is free and will be on display until Aug. 15.

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