Bonus Pics from the NFL Tour!

Their tour may have ended, but the great pics keep coming!  Check out these amazing images with NFL stars Drew Brees, Billy Miller, and Donnie Edwards.  And don’t forget to scroll to the bottom of the post for a video from DVIDS!

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees gets rushed by service members as he plays an exhibition football game with troops at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti on March 29, 2010. Brees is in the region as part of a nine-day USO tour designed to boost morale and bring troops a touch of home. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (Left) and tight end Billy Miller run to complete a U.S. Marine Corps grenade training exercise at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti on March 29, 2010. Joined by fellow NFL'er Donnie Edwards, the trio is in the region as part of a nine-day USO tour designed to boost morale and bring troops a touch of home. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

New Orleans Saints tight end Billy Miller is seen through the smoke, dust and sand atop an LAV (Light Armored Vehicle) belonging to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti on March 29, 2010. Miller was joined by teammate and Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees and NFL player Donnie Edwards, as part of their third USO tour together. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

An Indianapolis Colts fan gives his team a shout-out as New Orelans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Donnie Edwards and New Orleans Saints tight end Billy Miller ride by during a training excerise on March 29, 2010 . This was the third annual USO tour for the trio, who visited troops in Japan in 2008 and spent time with those stationed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2009. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

NFL players Billy Miller, Donnie Edwards and Drew Brees participate in a training exercise with U.S. Marines attached to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti on March 29, 2010. Part of a week-long USO tour, the group met with thousands of service men and women. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Donnie Edwards and New Orleans Saints tight end Billy Miller board a V-22 Osprey in route to the USS Nassau on March 29, 2010. Traveling on their third USO tour together, the NFL trio also visited troops in Turkey and Dubaii as part of their nine-day USO tour. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

The Power of One Vote

From the Desk of John Hanson, SVP of Communications a the USO:

Don’t worry … this isn’t a civics lesson encouraging you to vote in every election (you really should, though).

Sometime this summer, the world will not celebrate the 66th anniversary of a piece of landmark legislation.  Not because it’s bad legislation, but because 66 years isn’t as much fun as, say, 65 or 70.

In 1944, a group of World War I veterans figured out that World War II was going to be ending at some foreseeable time.  The allies were advancing in every theater.

These men had come home after their war and learned some important lessons.  One was that there had to be a way to assimilate millions of veterans back into an economy that was not going to be as robust after the war as it was during the war.

And, these folks had seen what happened when bonuses promised to World War I veterans were not paid.  The bonus marchers’ riots in 1932 in Washington left a lasting impression and a bitter taste.

The result of their conversations was the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944.

GI Bill Signing

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signing the G.I. Bill into law on June 22, 1944

It was ambitious.  The plan included months of unemployment compensation, guaranteed home loans, and, remarkably, education benefits at colleges, universities and trade schools.  The cost was going to be huge.

There was some consternation from the Congress.  “This is far too expensive,” some said.  “We can’t afford to do this.”  Some called it socialistic or even communistic.  There are reports that it was too big for even President Roosevelt.  University leaders were worried about opening the doors of higher education to the hoi polloi.

But, a few veterans’ groups and interested citizens insisted, and the legislation moved forward, back and forth until the House and Senate versions had to be meshed. That shouldn’t have been a problem.  Each house’s version passed unanimously.  But, we’re talking about Congress, here.  There were 7 members of the joint committee.  One was going to be out of town when the vote was to be taken, and he left his proxy with the chairman.  The chair decided not to vote the proxy, so the absent member, from Georgia, John Gibson, had to be found at his home, driven to an airport and flown back to Washington to cast the final vote that freed the bill for consideration.

A tie vote could have killed the bill.  A desperate measure saved it.

You might recognize the Readjustment Act (a great name by the way) as its more popular title – the GI Bill of Rights.  It changed the course for millions of veterans and their families.  It created the American middle class. It created the America we take for granted today.  By a one vote margin.

[ed. note - more information on the GI Bill is available online from the American Legion]