On March 3, 1966, President Johnson signed a renewed, albeit extremely stingy, GI Bill into law. Some of its provisions were retroactive, but too little, too late for many of us.
Those are the facts, backed up by the Congressional Record and official accounts of the events and dates readily available on the Internet for those who would trouble themselves before shooting from the hip.
The words "bottom of the barrel" are those of Mr. Lane, in referring to the educational level of those entering the military today. What I said was that many draftees into the "old army" possessed baccalaureate degrees when they entered. How many nowadays, who obtained college educations by their own means, subsequently enlist into pay grade E-1?
He then goes on to accuse me, by relating history firsthand, of somehow disparaging today's members of our armed forces and their families. I did no such thing. Members of every generation of my family since the early 1800s have served in all branches, some coming home badly broken and others not at all. I am gushingly, spine-tingling proud of all who serve.
In his ill-informed vituperation, Mr. Lane tries to whitewash the documented historical fact that Republicans bitterly opposed and consistently voted against the early GI Bills just as they did Social Security, Medicare and a host of other social programs for people whom Mitt Romney derided as the "47 percent entitled." As we have seen, Republicans eliminated the first GI Bills when they got the chance and vetoed Democratic revival efforts.
They opposed the 1966 GI Bill as well, but, seeing it was going to pass with or without them, and knowing President Johnson would sign it, they made a politically expedient parliamentary maneuver to pass it "by acclamation."
That's how those war-hawk, flag-waving "grateful" Republicans "supported our veterans."
Cook is an author, artist and inventor who lives in Hurricane.