Monday, May 26, 2008

S. 22, Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2007

Dear Veterans - I hope this is news you can use. The GI Bill, S. 22, Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2007, has passed the Senate - just this past week to extend benefits for college to our returning veterans who have served since 9/11. Check the link for the specifics. Of course, it must be signed by the President so it is not passed into law yet but you need to be aware of it if you are not. From Senator Jim Webb's Senatorial website:
Webb's Landmark Post-9/11 GI Bill Wins Bipartisan Victories in House and Senate Veterans of the Wars in Iraq & Afghanistan Closer to Realizing Comprehensive Educational Benefits for their Service On Thursday, May 22, the Senate overwhelmingly passed landmark legislation to provide post-9/11 veterans with comprehensive educational benefits, introduced by Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) seventeen months ago on his first day in office. The measure--cosponsored by Sens. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), John Warner (R-VA) and a strong bipartisan majority of their colleagues--was passed in the House the preceding week. Identical measures were included in the Iraq War emergency supplemental spending bills. "Today, the Senate took a historic step toward a modern and fair educational benefit for the men and women who have served honorably since 9/11," said Webb. "This bill properly responds to the needs of those who answered the call of duty to our country--those who moved toward the sound of the guns--often at great sacrifice....
The opportunity is good on many levels. The opportunities to our veterans are obvious. On one very important level, our veterans have much to bring to our college campuses in the way of experience and maturity that many of our inexperienced college students just don't have. So once more our veterans will be able to serve our nation right here at home through their dedication and discipline - role models. I had the opportunity to work with Navy Nukes and there was no room for whining among their ranks. No room at all. Maybe our returning veterans will bring a bit of "adult" perspective and a serious approach to attaining clear and measurable goals to the current students thereby putting pressure on professors to rise to the higher levels of their own academic capabilities. I must caution the veterans to be patient with some technical classes you may take. In many cases, you may well know more than your professors for one simple reason - you have been working with the most advanced, the most sophisticated computer programs and equipment in the world. Colleges and universities simply cannot keep up with what the military has but you can still learn some of the basics or fundamentals behind the development of these programs and this equipment. And then apply what you know to the furtherance of future development. You are in a unique position: you know what exists today; you know what soldiers need to enhance their capabilities; and you will be in a position to combine your knowledge with your new found fundamentals that you can apply to innovations. Taking theory, balancing that with your advanced practical knowledge and experience "in the field", and applying it to new situations is creative genius and that is America's strength. If anyone can add that powerful and needed dimension of creativity and breath of fresh air to our colleges, YOU can do it. You have what it takes. Some of you may want to go into robotics or developmental work with prosthetic advancement. Thousands of our military men and women have experienced the loss of limbs to IEDs and, once they have recuperated, they have much to contribute to further advancement in this field including the aspects of physical therapy - itself always having to change and adapt to new challenges. On VA benefits, there may be other benefits that warrant your research: Now to the returning veterans, there is something else you may need to look into and that is your benefits as they pertain to the VA hospitals and your eligibility for treatment in these facilities. Some are very good and some departments even in the very best VA hospitals are better than other departments. Outreach programs exist that try to reach Iraq War Veterans (Desert Storm veterans may be included in this too, I'm not sure) - so please look into these. I am not intimately qualified on the particulars but it is my understanding - I could be wrong - that the number of years you have to enroll for VA benefits may have been extended. PLEASE check and, if I am correct, do not let the time slip by. Like anything else, when we leave a "job" or a "career", often we are in a rush to "get out" and we don't look at the fine print; we don't think we'll ever need the services. But we have an example of long-term effects that, in the case of Vietnam Vets, did not show up for some years after the war was over - the effects of Agent Orange. It is my understanding - again, I could be misinformed - that even if you don't think you have a "service connected" condition, you may want to look into signing up for benefits to get your name on the list. Please look into the benefits that are available to you and, for goodness sake, DO NOT sign away your benefits in the heat of the moment or without fully understanding what you are giving up. What harm does it do to sign-up? There is no cost to sign-up and you may never need the services but what if you don't sign-up, the time slips by, and then you develop a need for services? I don't know what happens, do you? From personal experience, I know that symptoms of conditions can present themselves years after a trauma or occurrence has been experienced, so please, if you have served as a veteran, check you benefits, sign-up to keep yourself eligible if you can. Use the opportunity of the veterans eligible for S. 22, GI Bill for college and transition into a civilian career using your military training coupled with a degree and explore the VA benefits you are eligible for - don't let them slip away. And on this Memorial Day - be safe, be dry, and be confident in a people who honor you...a people - the very young and the elderly who have fought in days gone by - who can no longer fight for themselves. A people who thank you!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beach Girl - Finally, something we can agree on. But why not mention that while the bill is supported by many Republicans, it is opposed by your beloved conservatives? Or that Jim Webb (a democrat and junior senator form Virginia)unseated George Allen who was a straight-A conservative during his six-year tenure in the Senate? Or that the President some his hawkish backers, like Lindsey Graham from South Carolina, are fighting fiercely to derail the bill? In fairness, show full discloure even if it gives gives the hated liberals a little credit.

1:28 PM  
Blogger Beach Girl said...

Bobillw, the focus of the post was on veterans. No need for "full disclosure". I have supported Senator Webb on this and have told him so. Actually, they know my name in his office and I have been to his office in Virginia Beach off Virginia Beach Blvd. across from the Cheesecake Factory.

Senator Webb is not a Liberal. He is a Democrat. They are not the same thing. Everyone knows who won the Nov. 2006 election - I just wanted to get info out to Veterans so they could fight for the bill too. I think the Senate and House can and will override any Presidential veto and I'd support that override.

I'll always be a conservative, Bobillw. But I have not been too kind to the Republican Party lately and cannot support the presidential ticket. I have tried not to do harm but I can't help it if the party has great distain for its conservative base. All we want is smaller government staying out of our lives.

Your points are well-taken but I hope you can forgive me because "full disclosure" was not the issue here. My support is clear. My focus is on our veterans and, in addition to the Post-9/11 educational assistance bill, this is a meager attempt to get the OIF/OEF men and women (from Desert Storm and the current Iraq War) to check out their VA benefits before signing them away.

You might also be surprised to learn - although I have written about it - that I do not support using our military to "spread democracy". Not their job. When the folks in Afghanistan and later Iraq voted for Sharia Law to be the supreme law, I supported immediate troop withdrawal. Sharia Law is totalitarianism, pure and simple - slavery, female mutilation, and the list goes on.

On this post, I tried to focus on the veterans and keep from going off in tangents which were not the intent of the post.

On Lindsey Graham - RINO is his name-oh! I have worked to get him defeated in November - along with other "conservatives" due to the "gang of 14 stuff" and "amnesty".

I don't hate Liberals. Ordinary Democrats and ordinary Republicans are very much alike - it is the far-left Socialist/Marxists that are a tad over the top. Heck, I'm even pulling for Hillary to run as an Independent like Joe Lieberman did.

So on this post, the focus is on Veterans. Have a great Memorial Day. Thank you for your service to our nation...

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for your timely response. Your explanation is fair and well recieved and demonstrates a softer, more charitable side than some of your posts. I was not a fan of Jim Webb when he was Secretary of the Navy, but I like what he's doing for our military veterans - who deserve better hands than the Bush Administration has dealt them.

2:36 PM  
Blogger Beach Girl said...

Some of my posts are intended to be anything but soft or charitable and if one chose to read my recent note to Boehner, one would see that I am hardly charitable to Republican leadership. I am a conservative, that I cannot deny but that does not mean I am not charitable, it just means I see other ways to achieve personal independence, self-esteem, and success beyond dependence upon government handouts. We deserve ALL better than that too and some of us need help getting there.

As to the second half of second sentence, our military veterans deserve much better than they have received from the Bush Administration as do ALL of us with Ramos and Compean near the top of the list.

I think our military is ill used and we ill served when they are used to "spread democracy". First, the cause is futile, and second, that is not their job, in accordance with the US Constitution. To me, I would have supported impeachment for violation of oath of office with regard to aiding and abetting the invasion of our nation which has been in full swing. No problem with orderly immigration but this is insanity - a lady from LA serving in Army in Kuwait and her son gunned down by illegal alien killer in LA the day the killer got out of jail for gun possession. Total insanity.

I think Senator Webb - based upon his experiences in Vietnam - and others is much more what I would define as a Democrat, not a Liberal/Leftist. I do not see them as the same. I call his office often on issues I would appreciate his support on and on issues I'd like him to re-consider. I have found him to be receptive to considering alternative views and upon occasion, modifying his stand based upon a reasoned request for him to vote differently.

Thank you for your generous observations. My post "2008 Tribute to Veterans" is not my most well-written or crafted post but it does represent a small fraction of why I respect our military and war veterans. As an aside, you probably don't know this but my uncle was responsible for getting the funding and all the other aspects - artichect, etc. - that went into the idea and final implementation of building the Chapel at Langley. Isn't that fun? I was married there. Our family's history in the "fighting" for our nation runs deep and long way back before the Revolutionary War.

I do hope you are having a good day. I am resting as I am dealing with another sinus infection.

6:49 PM  

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