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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 22, 1994




Fifty years ago, on June 22, 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law The Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 -- "The GI Bill of Rights" -- described by many historians as America's greatest single piece of social legislation from that time period. President Roosevelt said that the passage of the GI Bill gave "emphatic notice to the men and women of our Armed Forces that the American people do not intend to let them down."

That promise to meet the needs of a highly trained and motivated military was well kept by the original GI Bill and has been renewed and revised with each succeeding generation of veterans. Today, those guarantees of assistance -- from education to home purchase, from job training to medical treatment -- are part of every veteran's expectations. They extend beyond active duty service personnel, to include reservists and surviving spouses, as well.

The GI Bill has made life better for all Americans. As it eased the transition of millions of World War II veterans into civilian life, it paved the way for an unparalleled period of U.S. economic growth and development, while reaffirming the vital importance of our Nation's Armed Forces.

GI Bill home loan provisions underwrote the largest housing boom in our country's history. Now, most Americans may reasonably look forward to owning their own homes at some time during their lives.

GI Bill educational benefits spurred nearly 8 million World War II veterans on to higher education. It transformed the Nation's education infrastructure and made college education and technical training realistic options after high school for those who may otherwise not have been able to afford these advantages.

This half-century investment of more than $65 billion has been repaid to the American taxpayer time and time again. The Nation has been enhanced by the increased earning power and expanded economic activity directly attributable to the GI Bill. It is gratifying to note that our veterans have utilized these benefits to the fullest extent. Their energy, initiative, and ability have allowed them to make the most of this enduring promise. As they gave their best to the Nation while they were in uniform, they also gave us their best as civilians with the help of the GI Bill.

It is to them and to the pioneers who created and crafted the original GI Bill legislation during the dark days of World War II, that we as a Nation owe our heartfelt gratitude this day. This measure opened the door to the American dream of opportunity for advancement to an entire generation of young Americans.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 22, 1994, as "GI Bill of Rights Day" celebrating the 50th anniversary of enactment of the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 and the subsequent legislation that has extended its promise. I encourage all Americans, as well as civic, veterans, educational, business, and news media organizations, to join me in honoring this true American success story and those veterans and visionaries who made it possible.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-first day of June, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eighteenth.


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