Topeka dedicates downtown plaza to author of the GI Bill

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The 900 block of South Kansas Avenue is now known as the Harry Colmery Plaza.

Hundreds gathered Wednesday to honor him, the Topeka native died in 1979 and is best known as the author of the GI Bill of Rights but he was also a civic leader, politician and lawyer in Topeka.

The plaza features a life-size statue of Colmery, he is shown saluting a relief featuring a group of service members. Their images are reflected in a second relief on the opposite side that depicts them in civilian clothes as students and businessmen.

Wednesday was also the 72nd anniversary of the signing of the GI Bill by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The legislation has helped more than 20 million veterans by offering financial support for education.

A small group consisting mainly of American Legion members had worked since late 2014 to raise more than $400,000 for the project.

 

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