Speak Out: ‘Greatest generation’ and GI Bill
by our readers
Dec 11, 2013 | 1361 views |  0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Re “Saddled with debt — Federal, state governments haven’t supported students as they should” (Editorial, Dec. 6)

The Star’s editorial spoke of the education of the “greatest generation” and lack of financial opportunities for college students of later generations. Military personnel who served during World War II were offered educational opportunities because of the GI Bill. Many people took advantage of the bill and went to college to get an education. Otherwise, they could not have afforded to go. They were also able to become homeowners because of the GI Bill. I believe changes have been made to the GI Bill over the years, but people who serve in the military are still eligible for the GI Bill.

After the war, wages were much lower than they are now. Men making $35 to $50 weekly were getting married and buying homes. Every time union members struck for raises, if they were granted, everything went up to pay for the raises. Over the 68 years since the war ended, wages have been raised numerous times, everyone wants a good wage, and costs of college educations have increased many times so their staff can be paid well because of the effort and cost of their education.

My husband didn’t take advantage of the GI Bill education benefits, but we used the benefits when we bought a home. When our children went to college, costs were lower, they worked summers and borrowed money, and we helped some. Because my husband was an Alabama veteran, our daughter got help from the Veterans Administration.

By the time our grandchildren were ready for college, costs had soared over the years. They have worked part-time all year long and received some scholarship money to help, but it has not been a free ride.

Let’s remember that federal and state governments didn’t help the “greatest generation” just so they could get an education, but because of the sacrifices they had made during the perilous times of war.

Elsie Wheeler
Jacksonville
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