20th Century, Civics, education, History, Intercession, Minnesota, Uncategorized, World War II

It’s Your G.I. Bill of Rights June 22, 1944

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Harry Colmery, Drafter of Servicemen’s Readjustment Act**

1944-1956
To help World War II veterans make a smooth transition back to civilian life, the U.S. government provided them with low-interest loans to put toward education, business startups, and housing expenses. The program, known as the Serviceman’s Readjustment Act, or more commonly, the “G.I. Bill of Rights,” also contained the 52-20 provision, which paid veterans $20 per week for up to 52 weeks while seeking employment.

According to the Veterans Administration (VA), a total of 7.8 million World War II vets took advantage of the G.I. Bill to get an education, and nearly 2.4 million benefited from VA-backed home loans. Less than 20 percent of the United States’ 16 million eligible veterans participated in the 52-20 program.*

“Never again do we want to see the honor and glory of our nation fade to the extent that her men of arms, with despondent heart and palsied limb, totter from door to door, bowing their souls to the frozen bosom of reluctant charity.”
American Legion Past National Commander Harry Colmery, after helping draft the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act in the winter of 1943-1944**

As the author of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, Colmery acted as the national catalyst to offer opportunity to the 15 million men and women returning from duty. R.B. Pitkin, editor of “The American Legion Magazine”, became a key figure in consolidating grassroots proposals, summarizes them into the following objectives.
Educational opportunity
Vocational on-the-job training
Readjustment allowances
Home, farm and business loans
Review of discharges
Adequate health care
Prompt settlement of disability claims
Mustering-out pay (removed from the bill after it was enacted separately)
Effective veteran employment services
Concentration of all veterans functions in the Veterans Administration ***

How did this look in the North Star state? Soon after the end of the war, nearly half the students in Minnesota colleges and universities are World War II veterans studying under the benefits of the G.I. Bill.**
For example, 25,000 vets enrolled at the University of Minnesota in this period; the most of anywhere in the nation. Local private college attendance also ballooned with returning vets; Bethel University had to expand from a two-year program to a four-year program to meet the demand.****

Yet, one wonders, how did this program impact the lives of its participants? Below are a few quotes from interviews with WWII veterans, conducted by writer Kevyn Burger.****
“Without the GI Bill, I never would have gone to college and I would have lived with disappointment… I had a hunger for learning I had to satisfy.”
Jeanne Bearmon, Women’s Army Corps.
“The GI Bill was fantastic, I got $75 a month to live on. That was plenty, more than enough. I had a nice room a few blocks from campus for $7 a week.”
Sherman Garon, US Army

Lord, there is something so beautiful about debts repaid, it’s almost indescribable! We commend these returning vets of WWII before You. We are doubly-honored as we think of them; they showed total commitment to freedom and freedom’s G-d, and our society echoed back its gratitude! What seems so exceptional about them is that they never seemed to expect payback from America?!

Of course, this is a generalization, but the circumstantial evidence and their testimonies prove it true over and over again. It reminds me of Your Holy Word.
“And that’s how it should be with you. When you’ve done all you should, then say, “We are merely servants, and we have simply done our duty.” Luke 17:10 CEV
What a joy it must have been to give this small token, the GI Bill, to those so humble and who so thoroughly utilized it?

We also specifically commend Colmery and Pitkin to You. We thank you for their gifts of vision and its administration. Will You bless our state and nation with similar leadership and administration? We perpetually need both dreamers and the activators of dreams; Will You give us the grace to do our role?

In contrast, we confess the limitations of administering the GI Bill in the present: it seems so bureaucratic, it feels un-relational, and the benefits seem far smaller than the costs of administering them. Our society wants to give to vets, it puts money in the offering plate, but somehow only $1 out of $7 seems to reach the hand that needs it. Will You help us with this problem? Will You stop our bickering over the amount we should give, and let us draw a straighter line between giver and receiver?

In the same way, we note the increase in the costs of education and student housing. Returning vets now routinely pay seventy to a hundred times the costs these servicemen and women paid for tuition and student housing?! Too many of these young men and women start their lives saddled with debt, yet they have taken the same risks as their forbearers; doing their duty up to the cost of their lives!

Presently, it feels as though we have lost our empathy for them. We are an heinously distracted people, continuously diverted from paying attention to real people and real relationships. Will You kindly reveal our GI Bill of wrongs, and the heart attitudes that foist scorn on the selfless service of others? Have mercy Lord, we don’t fully understand the depths of their sacrifice, nor of Yours!

“Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” Romans 14:4 BSB*****

Minnesota Department of the American Legion. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, MN. 1944. http://www.mnhs.org/mgg/artifact/gibill_rights
** https://www.legion.org/education/history
*** Pitkin, R.B. “The American Legion Magazine”. Jan.-Mar. 1969 ibid.
**** Burger, Kevyn, “GI Bill gave Minnesota veterans a path to the middle class”. StarTribune, Minneapolis, MN. 11-11-2014 Variety Section. (Kevyn Burger is a freelance writer and a newscaster at BringMeTheNews.com.)
***** https://www.biblehub.com/romans/14-4.htm

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20th Century, Christian, History, Minnesota, omnipresent history, State Government, Uncategorized

Thye Becomes Governor as Governor Stassen Resigns

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Shirtless flying ace Pappy Boyington greets Capt. Horold Stassen.

Apr 26, 1943
Edward J. Thye takes office as the state’s 26th governor when Governor Harold E. Stassen resigns to enlist in the Navy four months into his third term.*

To better asses the relevance of this event, let’s learn some background information on each of these men starting with the regional success story of Edward Thye.
“Edward J. Thye, the twenty-sixth governor of Minnesota, was born near Frederick, South Dakota on April 26, 1896. His education was attained at the Tractor and Internal Combustion School in Minneapolis, at the American Business College, and at the University of Minnesota, where he graduated in 1918. During World War I, he served in the U.S. Army Air Corps as a private, and later rose to the rank of second lieutenant. After his military service, he worked at the Deere and Weber Company for two years, and then went into the dairy business. Thye entered politics in 1938, serving as the Minnesota deputy commissioner of agriculture, a position he held three years. He also served as the lieutenant governor of Minnesota from 1942 to 1943. On April 27, 1943, Governor Harold Stassen resigned from office, and Thye, who was the lieutenant governor at the time, assumed the duties of the governorship. He was elected to a term of his own on November 7, 1944. During his tenure, a human rights commission was created; highway construction was advanced; a department of aeronautics was initiated; and an iron range rehabilitation commission was formed, as well as a postwar planning commission. In 1946, Thye won election to the U.S. Senate, but remained in the governor’s office until January 8, 1947. He then took his seat in the U.S. Senate, a position he held until 1959. Governor Edward J. Thye passed away on August 28, 1969, and was buried in the Oaklawn Cemetery in Northfield, Minnesota.”**

Using the same highly accurate source, we’ll look into the backstory of Governor Stassen from the vantage point of the governors association.
“During his tenure, the state’s highway system was advanced; a civil service law was sanctioned; tourist business with the state was promoted; and an anti-loan shark and labor bill was authorized. Governor Stassen resigned from the governorship on April 27, 1943, to enter service in World War II. He served as a captain in the U.S. Navy and was awarded numerous decorations for his heroic service. He also served on Admiral William F. Halsey’s staff as an aide and flag secretary. After his military service, he returned to his political career.” ***

This author was also pleased to find the information below written and researched by his great nephew
“With the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 by the Japanese brought more change to Harold’s career.  When he ran for reelection as governor in 1942, he announced in a radio broadcast from the Governor’s Office on March 27, “The offensive drive for victory against the totalitarian forces that threaten the future of free men will be conducted in the main by the young men of my generation.  I want to be with them.”  He won reelection.” ****

Using these small kernels of information, will You guide this prayer Holy Spirit?
Will You show us root truths or misbeliefs that you may wish to address? Will You bring acknowledgement of wrongs, separations, and sins that unlock us from continuing down a rocky path?

Right away, the prompt to read the “Love Chapter” a.k.a. 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 comes to mind. Why? Who gives away their authority and power except a human being that believes in love, and an overarching authority greater than his or her own?

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking…” NIV 1 Corinthians 13:4-5a

These Governors were not self-seeking, but ones who understood that the strength of their authority comes from being servants of their fellow citizens…even to the point of death. They led by example, and not from behind. Father, remember this happy day in our State when the people could clearly see that Stassen and Thye would do their duty!
Please encourage or exhort, build confidence or condemnation of our present leadership as needed so that we can continue a trust relationship with them! Will You raise more leaders in the North Star state who invite Your authority, and have humble hearts to lay down their domains of power at the proper time and season?

We also see their recognition of evils in their times. We take note with You today that they could see through the pleasant disguises of Stalinism, shintoism and the Showa Period of Japan, the fascism of Italy, and the Nationalsozialismus Party of Germany. Before the war began, westerners of many stripes saw and reported the positive, humanistic potential of these worldviews. Father, You know the names, but allow me to list a few who were charmed by these regimes: industry giant Henry Ford was awed at the efficiency of the German state factories, Neville Chamberlain perhaps sought peace, but placated warriors, and US President F.D.Roosevelt publicly stated, “Some of my best friends are communists.”

So we see a bitter root of envy within the goodness of our leaders; sometimes they are duped by evil. To expand, sometimes they may admire or even covet the drive to power of dictators, and secretly want to never be questioned in their goals or hampered by the restraints of law. Yet, within all leadership is a human being that is often no better or worse than the rest of us.

Lord, we confess our covetousness of the power of our neighbor(s). We confess that can become imbalanced when we love control more than contentment. We acknowledge that we often fold in the face of depravity, corruption, and vice rather than stand boldly against them. Will You remove this offense against You from our record?

Lord, we give honor to Governor Stassen and to Governor Thye. Will You remember their commitment to stand against the evils of the collectivism that called itself good in their age? Will You cause us to stand against the evils of our present era in the same way? Give us pause to consider; are we ready to die to our life’s ambitions to obey You, love Virtue, and love the Truth? Will we put aside our livelihoods for the sake of future generations of Minnesotans? Will we let our neighbor fight our battles, or will we (like Your example through Harold Stassen) lay down our lives for our friends? Have mercy on us, dear Father! Will You help us choose wisdom?

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

** https://www.nga.org/governor/edward-john-thye/ Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
*** https://www.nga.org/governor/harold-edward-stassen/
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
**** https://lgoossens.blogspot.com/2012/04/who-was-harold-stassen.html

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