After a resounding vote in favor of the new GI Bill in the Senate last night, and the president making assurances that he will sign the bill, IAVA HQ is waiting with baited breath for a victory celebration. I wanted to take a moment to share with you some of the responses we've been getting from veterans around the country.
"This new GI Bill sounds amazing!"
-Marine Corps Corporal
"I'm currently on active duty or I'd be there [celebrating]! I've been following your work since my first deployment four years ago. Thanks to you and IAVA my troops have the GI Bill. Thanks for all your hard work! Keep it up!"
-Sergeant stationed in Iraq
"WOW! What a great moment! Thanks for all your hard work for IAVA and for Veterans."
-OIF and OEF veteran
"I am currently deployed, and I heard about this GI bill and I am thrilled just thrilled...Thanks again for this bill!"
"I am glad that your organization fought to have this GI Bill new law passed to our soldiers. This will make my life completely different now... God Bless You All!"
From Iraq, Afghanistan and across the United States, emails like these continue to roll in. For those of us who have been deep in the GI Bill fight, it is a wonderful thing to get to hear from some of the 1.7 million people who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan and are eligible for this benefit.
While there is still one hurdle left to clear, the finish line is in sight. Yesterday, Senator Webb held a celebratory press conference with lead co-sponsors Senators Hagel, Warner, and Lautenberg, strong supporters Senators Reid and Akaka, and Veterans Service Organizations, including IAVA, who have been championing this bill from the very beginning.
IAVA's own Patrick Campbell spoke at the press conference. Here's how he described the impact of the new GI Bill: "Everything is changed. Service members in the war zone and those who will follow them are now given hope. Their dreams are going to be bigger. Their opportunities are going to be bigger."
With the 92-6 victory in the Senate last night, the new GI Bill will now make its way to the president's desk for his signature. We're hoping it will be signed into law before the Fourth of July -- a fitting tribute, on the most patriotic of holidays, to the sacrifices and the service of our men and women in uniform.
For information on what this new GI Bill could mean for you, visit www.GIBill2008.org.