Rep. Wilhour Helps Celebrate “GI Bill” 75th at Post 128 in Salem

Commander Harold Kocher, Rep. Blaine Wilhour and Sr. Vice Commander Roy Weber.

State Rep. Blaine Wilhour was the guest speaker for the 75th Anniversary Celebration of the signing of the Serviceman’s Readjustment Act of 1944, more commonly known as the “G.I. Bill of Rights.”

“This is an important piece of legislation that was born right here in southern Illinois that impacted and improved the lives of our soldiers returning from World War II,” said Rep. Blaine Wilhour. “I, like many of you, was able to use the G.I. Bill to go to college. Many people were able to get home loans, small business loans, and financial assistance to finis high school and go to college on the GI Bill.”

Salem Post 128 Commander Harold Kocher introduces IL State Vice Commander Roy Weber to make comments.

The eight men who sat around the table after a legion dinner in Salem on November 4, 1943, wrote down their ideas on napkins and those ideas were taken by former Governor John Stelle back to Washington, D.C. where the ideas were expanded on over several days at the Mayflower Hotel. Gov. Stelle was made the head of the committee of people who would have the ideas drafted into legislation and would lobby to have that bill passed and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on June 22, 1944.

75th Anniversary celebration for the “G.I. Bill of Rights” attendees included Linda Johnson (Vice President of the Marion County Republican Women, Judy Shafer (Centralia American Legion Auxiliary member and County Board Member) and Beth Harrell (Salem Legion Auxiliary President). Hanging above their heads is the actual table where the eight Legionnaires sat and wrote down their ideas on dinner napkins.
Rep. Wilhour talks with Commander Harold Kocher and State Vice Commander Weber in front of the display of items acknowledging the Luther B. Easley Post 128 for its part in the “GI Bill” history.
IL State Vice Commander Roy Weber speaks with Rep. Blaine Wilhour at the 75th Anniversary event for the “G.I. Bill of Rights.”
Attendees included Jim Beard (President of the Sons of the American Legion), Mona Watson (Salem American Legion Auxiliary member) and Iuka Mayor Janie Grimes (Salem Legion Auxiliary member).