2008-05-09 / Letters

Need New GI Bill

Dear Editor,

There are so many things to be pissed off about. What gets me most are the limitations on the future of the country by the dumb and selfish errors of today. I am particularly angry about the failure to bring full educational benefits to our veterans. We have our memorial Circle in Rockaway; we have VFW and American Legion halls; we have the veteran statues. But what we need is a future for our Rockaway youth serving in the military. They are promised a future and then nickel and dimed! Why not have a true GI Bill like the real one? I think we should contact our senators to push for S. 22 - the bipartisan legislation that provides a full college education to all veterans.

The GI Bill, signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt, has been hailed worldwide as the greatest piece of legislation ever passed for the post war period.

The original GI Bill was credited with creating the modern middleclass, and helping millions of veterans become doctors, teachers, scientists, engineers, lawyers, and artists.

However, sadly, the GI Bill has become a shadow of its former self - failing to keep up with the cost of college, so that the average GI Bill benefit doesn't even cover half the cost of a public college, for an in-state student.

Unfortunately, John McCain has introduced legislation that would undercut the bipartisan effort to update the GI Bill. McCain's bill would reduce the college benefit that veterans would get, leaving far too many veterans without a path to a college education. I hesitate to use McCain's name. This is not to attack him. I only use his name to identify the bill. This has nothing to do with partisan politics. He usually has veterans in mind, but for some reason this time, I guess to keep costs down, he really missed the boat on this one!

This bill also creates "second class veterans," those who serve multiple tours in Iraq or Afghanistan, but would not be eligible for certain benefits available to veterans who serve longer. This says to a veteran who serves two tours and loses his legs during his service that he is not as important as a veteran who served for 12 years.

It is important that every fair-minded member of Congress, of both parties, rejects the watered-down bill, and supports S. 22 - the bipartisan legislation that would restore the promise of a full college education to those who fought for America.

FRANK GERACE

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