Good morning, everyone. It’s a privilege to join Senator Wyden and Governor Kulongoski for this round table.
On 3 August, the President, Senator Jim Webb and former-Senator John Warner kicked off our new, Post-9/11 GI Bill program. We expect roughly 150,000 Veterans to take part in this fully-funded, degree producing program at a state college or university of their choice this year. An additional 1,100 private institutions have elected to participate in a special arrangement called the Yellow Ribbon Program. This investment in America’s future will go on for decades to come.
The first time we did this, after World War II, our country ended up being richer by 450,000 trained engineers, 240,000 accountants, 238,000 teachers, 91,000 scientists, 67,000 doctors, 22,000 dentists, and a million other college-educated Veterans. They went on to provide the leadership that catapulted our economy to world’s largest and our Nation to leader of the free world and victor of the Cold War—without a shot being fired. Lightning is about to strike twice for those who have answered our Nation’s call.
The courageous men and women, who wear our Nation’s uniforms, have shouldered heavy responsibilities for the past eight years. The new GI Bill clearly demonstrates the Nation’s respect and appreciation for their service and sacrifice. It is also our signal to them that they are our best hope for the future leadership of our country.
To those who will be taking advantage of this educational opportunity—make it count. Make it count for all of us and for our country. Thank you, and I look forward to participating in this discussion.