“Even a convict who is discharged from prison is given some money and a suit of clothes.
The veteran, when he is discharged from a hospital or separation center, is given neither.”
American Legion National Commander Warren Atherton, 1943
By the time of the 25th American Legion National Convention Sept. 21-23, 1943, in Omaha, Neb., more than 600 bills had been introduced to address a wave of medically discharged World War II GIs coming home to virtually no government support network. An estimated 75,000 per month were pouring into communities where VA services were still in their infancy, few programs existed to retrain disabled veterans for new careers and no unemployment pay was offered. Newly elected National Commander Warren Atherton assembled a blue-ribbon American Legion team to draft one omnibus bill to assist all veterans, disabled or not, in the return to civilian life.