“Father of the G.I. Bill” exhibit to open in Arizona Capitol Museum

Photo from Arizona State Archives

Photo from Arizona State Archives
Photo from Arizona State Archives
The Arizona Capitol Museum will open its newest exhibit, Ernest McFarland and the G.I. Bill, on Saturday, February 28, 2015. The McFarland room is the latest addition to the exhibit Arizona: Defense to Development, which explores the impact World War II had on the state.

Called the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 the G.I. bill was a law that provided benefits for returning World War II veterans. Benefits included: low-cost mortgages, low-interest loans, payments for tuition and living expenses to attend a university, college or vocational education, and up to one year of unemployment compensation. It was available to every veteran who had been on active duty during the war for at least ninety days.

Prior to this law no previsions where in place for returning veterans.

“Since 1944, more than 19 million service members nationwide have benefitted from Senator McFarland’s legislation,” said Secretary of State Michele Reagan. “A veteran of World War I, it was important to McFarland to assist veterans transitioning back into civilian life.”

Ernest McFarland served Arizona as an U.S. Senator (1941-1953), Governor (1955-1959) and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (1965-1971).

“Ernest McFarland represents the ability of Americans to reinvent themselves,” said Joan Clark, Arizona State Librarian. “Through terrible personal and professional loss, he was able to persevere – to find a purpose serving Arizonans.”

The new McFarland exhibit has an interactive element that allows visitors to create their own virtual memorial. Visitors use their great life accomplishments, real or imagined, and create a monument depicting their lives. Compare your virtual memorial with the new Ernest McFarland Memorial newly rededicated in Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza.

The Museum is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free parking for Museum visitors in Wesley Bolin Plaza at 17th Avenue and Washington Street. For more information call 602-926-3620. The Arizona Capitol Museum is a branch of the Arizona State Library, Archives, and Public Records, a division of the Secretary of State.

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