January 17, 2018 - Bob Hope Patriotic Hall Hosts the American Legion GI Bill Exhibit
Bob Hope Patriotic Hall, Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles County's Bob Hope Patriotic Hall has welcomed to its elegant chambers a multi-media exhibit honoring what has been called, "the organization’s most impactful legislative accomplishment," and with it, an educational opportunity for Southern Californians.
Supported by an American Legion grant, the exhibit, called "The Greatest Legislation: An American Legion Centennial Salute to the GI Bill," began its journey ,and objective to educate, at its debut in June of 2017, at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. The presentation here in California was kicked off by a public reception and moderated panel discussion at the historic home of the Los Angeles County Department of Military & Veterans Affairs, at Bob Hope Patriotic Hall at 1816 S. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles. The reception included officials and officers of the American Legion such as American Legion Executive Director Verna Jones, past American Legion national commander and chairman of The American Legion's 100th Anniversary Observance Committee David Rehbein, and American Legion California Department Commander Robert Heinisch.
Following the reception, in her keynote address, author and distinguished scholar of World War I history, Dr. Jennifer Keene of Chapman University, pointed to the GI Bill as one of the most significant accomplishments achieved by veterans of the First World War, who drafted the original bill. She explained how the veterans fought through critics, Congress ,and even bad weather to make the measure a reality. Dr. Keene is president of the Society of Military History, and is a master scholar chosen by the United States World War One Centennial Commission to provide professional training for educators about the First World War's place in history.
Also speaking at the event was Verna Jones, executive director of The American Legion, who pointed out that the American Legion, with over two million members, serves communities through approximately 13,000 local posts worldwide. It was formed in March of 1919 by members of the American Expeditionary Force from WW1 stationed in France after the armistice of November 11, 1918.
A panel discussion followed the speakers with audience participation giving everyone at the event an opportunity to ask questions and praise the functions of the GI Bill. Veterans and families whose lives have been influenced by the GI Bill, originally passed as the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, were invited to share their stories about the GI Bill, which was lauded as the most significant social legislation of the 20th century.
American Legion Past National Commander David K. Rehbein of Iowa, moderated the panel discussion, and opened questions to the panelists, which included Dr. Keene, U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Raymond Jackson, Los Angeles-Long Beach Maritime Safetyand Security Team; Donald Stiles, vice president of the UCLA chapter of Student Veterans of America; and American Legion Veterans Employment and Education Assistant Director John Kamin, Iraq combat veteran.
Attendees of the Jan. 17 event were impressed with the exhibit and the continued efforts of the American Legion to assist all veterans of the United States military branches.
"The Greatest Legislation: An American Legion Centennial Salute to the GI Bill" is a traveling exhibit that features illustrated panels , and more than 20 videos in touch-screen kiosks. The exhibit remains at Bob Hope Patriotic Hall through March 2018.