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Letter to the editor

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Tony OrtizOutreach SpecialistRiverside Community College

One September morning while other kids started their freshman year in college, got jobs or did nothing, I left for the Military Enlisted Processing Station (MEPS) and after extensive physical examination we raised our right hands and committed ourselves to protect and defend our country.

Later that same day and 3,000 miles from home the bus pulled slowly to an exhausted halt and the doors opened, I had arrived at boot camp.

Many veterans past and present have shared similar experiences and have had life defining experiences of combat and deployments that have given them a perspective and reinforced their sense of fortitude.

These veterans are now going to college.

America’s colleges and universities are anticipating the largest increase in veteran students since the Vietnam Era. This is predicated on the implementation of “The New G.I. Bill” which will go into effect this coming fall semester of 2009.

A boom in post-9/11 veterans is expected at colleges and universities across the nation. Unlike the aftermath of the Vietnam War, when few colleges and universities welcomed military veterans, a growing number are taking steps to ease the transition from service member to student.

Still in its early stages at many institutions efforts are underway to ease the transition and support America’s veterans as students.

Many Americans are proud of our service members, not just for their service or what they have already given to their country but more of what they can become with an education.

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