Legislation: “G.I. Bill of Rights Day” in Illinois

April 16, 2018

State Representative John Cavaletto (R-Salem) is proud to announce that House Bill 4954 passed out of the State Government Administration Committee on Thursday to establish each November 4th as “G.I. Bill of Rights Day” in the State of Illinois. Officially known as “The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944,” and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on June 22, 1944, this legislation established programs and support for returning soldiers in the areas of education, home loans and small business loans.

“I am proud of our local history in Salem and appreciate American Legion Commander Harold Kocher and the Salem Historical Commission for bringing this idea forward,” said Rep. John Cavaletto. “It is important that we remember our history and honor those eight American Legion members including Omar J. McMackin, and Earl W. Merritt from Salem.”

Other members at that initial meeting on November 4, 1943 at American Legion Post 128 in Salem included former Illinois Governor John Stelle from McLeansboro, George H. Bauer from Effingham, William R. McCauley from Olney, Leonard W. Esper from Springfield, A.L. Starshak from Lemont and James P. Ringley from Chicago.

This year, November 4, 2018, will be the 75th Anniversary of that dinner meeting at the Salem American Legion, Luther B. Easley Post 128, when eight Legionnaires sat around a dinner table and discussed what should be done for returning soldiers from World War II.

This legislation would amend the State Commemorative Dates Act and provide that the 4th day of November of each year to be observed throughout the State as a day in recognition of the landmark legislation that provided benefits to World War II veterans, and would serve as the basis of future legislation to extend benefits to all who serve in the United States Armed Forces.

House Bill 4954 now goes to the full House of Representatives for consideration.