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Reply #52: I always amazes me that people think the US treats it soldiers and vetrans well. [View All]

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geckosfeet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-26-09 07:28 AM
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52. I always amazes me that people think the US treats it soldiers and vetrans well.
Wikipedia: Bonus Army

Following his election, President Franklin D. Roosevelt did not want to pay the bonus early either, but handled the veterans with more skill. In March 1933, Roosevelt issued an executive order allowing the enrollment of 25,000 veterans in the Civilian Conservation Corps for work in forests. When they marched on Washington again in May 1933, he sent his wife Eleanor to chat with the vets and pour coffee with them, and she persuaded many of them to sign up for jobs making a roadway to the Florida Keys, which was to become the Overseas Highway, the southernmost portion of U.S. Route 1. The third-strongest hurricane ever measured, the September 2, 1935 Labor Day hurricane, killed 258 veterans working on the Highway. Most were killed by storm surge flooding. After seeing more newsreels of veterans giving their lives for a government that had taken them for granted, public sentiment built up so much that Congress could no longer afford to ignore it in an election year (1936). Roosevelt's veto was overridden, making the bonus a reality.

Perhaps the Bonus Army's greatest accomplishment was the piece of legislation known as the G. I. Bill of Rights. Passed in July, 1944, it immensely helped veterans from the Second World War to secure needed assistance from the federal government to help them fit back into civilian life, something the World War I veterans of the Bonus Army had not received. The Bonus Army's activities can also be seen as a template for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963, and popular political demonstrations and activism that took place in the U.S. later in the 20th century.

It may be better now, but they had to fight congress for it.

The practice of war-time military bonuses began in 1776, as payment for the difference between what a soldier earned and what he could have earned had he not enlisted.<1> Before World War One, the soldier's military service bonus (adjusted for rank) was land and money a Continental Army private received 100 acres (40 ha) and $80.00 at war's end while a Maj. Gen. received 1,100 acres (450 ha). In 1855, Congress increased the land-grant minimum to 160 acres (65 ha), and reduced the eligibility requirements to fourteen days of military service, or one battle; moreover, the bonus also applied to veterans of any Indian war.<2> Breaking with tradition, the veterans of the Spanish-American War did not receive a bonus, and, after World War One, their not receiving a military service bonus became a political matter when WWI veterans received only a $60 bonus. In 1919, the American Legion was created, and led a political movement for an additional bonus.

Wikipedia: Bonus Army
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