Remarks on Signing the New GI Bill Continuation Act

June 1, 1987

Welcome to the White House, and we'll try to get you back in the shade shortly. I remember back in the campaign of 1980 -- please, sit down -- back in the campaign of 1980, in a speech to the American Legion Convention, I proposed enactment of a peacetime GI bill. One of the great success stories of our time, I think, was the first GI bill passed at the end of World War II. No investment our government has ever made returned better dividends. It gave an entire generation of Americans, for the first time in history, the chance to get a college education.

In signing this bill, we're providing not only for the future of our service men and women but for America, too. Our military forces are only as good as the men and women who man them, and in this high-tech age, we need an increasingly educated and motivated military guarding our country. I've had the privilege these last few years to visit often with our military men and women, from Quantico to the demilitarized zone in Korea, and I can tell you they're among the finest bunch that this country has ever seen. The perseverance of the crew of the Stark demonstrated the caliber of our boys -- who accept danger manfully, who guard our nation's security with courage and competence and, not infrequently, great heroism. They are, simply, the best.

I want to pay a special tribute today to Congressman Sonny Montgomery of Mississippi. He is the chairman of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, whose great efforts have made this day possible. Also, the members of both the House and Senate committees, who worked so diligently for the passage of this bill, and we also appreciate the support of the many veterans and military organizations represented here today. I thank you all. So many of you have worked so hard to make this day possible. And now, that's enough out of me. I'll start writing and sign the bill.

Note: The President spoke at 1:46 p.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House. H.R. 1085, approved June 1, was assigned Public Law No. 100 - 48.