I applaud the university’s interest (and The Eagle’s coverage) of our possible involvement in the new GI bill to begin in August (Eagle, March 30, 2009, “AU may join initiative to pay for vet tuition”).
Having served 20 years of active duty in the Army, including two tours in Vietnam, I am a beneficiary of the Vietnam era GI bill, which paid for all the tuition and books in my Ph.D. program at AU. I doubt I would have been able to complete this degree without the GI bill, and I am grateful for this support.
Clearly the men and women returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan are deserving of this new GI bill, regardless of how any citizen or taxpayer may feel about these conflicts or the military in general.
Last fall, the College of Arts of Sciences’ Department of Language and Foreign Studies began an internship and Community Service Learning Program course at D.C.‘s Walter Reed Army Medical Center. For the students and faculty involved there could hardly be a more vivid illustration of the price of these wars than to interact with amputee and traumatic brain injured veterans, many of them the same age as AU undergraduate students.
Several of the AU community members involved in the Walter Reed project are exploring the possibility of a restricted account funded by donations which would supplement whatever federal or AU aid is made available to these veterans.