"Shacks, put up by the Bonus Army on the Anacostia flats, Washington, D.C., burning after the battle with the military. The Capitol in the background. 1932."
In the summer of 1932, in the midst of the Great Depression, World War I veterans seeking early payment of a bonus scheduled for 1945 assembled in Washington to pressure Congress and the White House. After the Senate rejected the bonus, most of the protesters went home, but a core of ten thousand members of the “Bonus Army” remained behind, many with their families. On the morning of July 28, violence erupted between the protesters and police, and President Hoover reluctantly sent in federal troops under Maj. Gen. Douglas MacArthur. Ignoring the President’s order for restraint, the flamboyant general drove the tattered protesters from the city and violently cleared their Anacostia campsite.
July 3, 1930: The Veterans Administration is Created
On this day in 1930, Congress passed a bill that created the Veterans Administration. Congress authorized the president to “consolidate and coordinate Government activities affecting war veterans” in an executive order. The bill known as Executive Order 5398 was later signed into law by President Herbert Hoover on July 21, 1930. Since its creation, the VA has been responsible for providing federal benefits to veterans and their dependents.
Visit the National Salute to Veterans site to explore ways to support today’s veterans.
Photo: President Herbert Hoover, General Hines and staff, following the signing of Executive Order creating the Veterans Administration July 21, 1930 (U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs).
POW Week at the Nixon Library
A sheriff-led motorcade will escort Vietnam POWs to the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California at 12:30PM PT. Their arrival at the Library coincides with the 40th anniversary of President Nixon’s POW homecoming dinner at the White House.
An All-American Homecoming is a new exhibit at the Nixon Library about the POWs visit to the White House. The event occurred on May 24, 1973, and it remains the largest dinner ever held at the White House. This week, the Nixon Foundation is hosting a series of events to celebrate the POWs.
Tomorrow evening, on the anniversary of the original White House homecoming, the Foundation will hold a reunion dinner for the POWs in the Nixon Library’s “East Room.” The original menu will be recreated, including American comfort foods like sirloin steak and potatoes.
Learn more about POW Week at the Nixon Library through the Nixon Foundation.
Photo: Entertainers sing “God Bless America” to the returned POW troops at the White House. From L-R: Phyllis Diller, Former Miss America Mary Ann Mobley, actress Joey Heatherton, President Nixon, Songwriter Irving Berlin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Pat Nixon and Comedian Bob Hope. 5/24/73.
Armistice Day was officially made a federal holiday by Congress in 1938 as a day to honor the end of World War I. In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed HR7786, which established Veterans Day in place of Armistice Day to honor those who served in World War II and the Korean War.
Photo: DDE signing HR7786, changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day 1954. 6/1/54.
Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the G.I. Bill on June 22, 1944. The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, also known as the G.I. Bill of Rights, offers educational assistance to veterans.
You can visit This week in Roosevelt History for more milestones and photos from the Roosevelt Presidential Library.
The G.I. Bill of Rights
June 22 marks the 68th anniversary of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, more popularly known as the GI Bill of Rights.
Although World War II was far from over, FDR was determined to plan ahead for a smooth transition to peace, both abroad and at home. The President proposed to Congress a way to level the economic impact of the war’s end and to integrate returning veterans back into American society.
The result was the GI Bill. Now widely credited with creating the post-war middle class, the GI Bill of Rights provided returning veterans with educational benefits, work training, hiring preferences, and subsidized loans for buying homes, businesses and farms.
Here is the White House Stenographer’s Diary from June 22, 1944. FDR signed the Bill at 11:30 AM.