Dr. H. G. Jones, who served as curator of the North Carolina Collection from 1974 to 1993, was quoted by President Barack Obama in a speech on the “Post-9/11 GI Bill.” Appearing at George Mason University in August 2009, the President stated:
No number can sum up this sea change in our society [due to the GI Bill]. Reginald Wilson, a fighter pilot from Detroit, said, “I didn’t know anyone who went to college. I never would have gone to college had it not been for the GI Bill.” H.G. Jones, a Navy man from North Carolina, said, “What happened in my rural Caswell County community happened all over the country…going to college was no longer a novelty.” Indeed, one of the men who went to college on the GI Bill, as I mentioned, was my grandfather, and I would not be standing here today if that opportunity had not led him West in search of opportunity.
Dr. Jones’s quote comes from his Kemp Plummer Battle Lecture to UNC’s Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies on University Day, October 12, 1990.
A video and transcript of the President’s speech can be seen or read at the following link: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/Post-9/11-GI-Bill-Providing-the-Opportunity-Our-Troops-Have-Earned/
To read the Battle Lecture, you can visit the NC Collection and request the item. The call number is C378 UK3 1990 Jones.
One wonders though…how did the quote come to be in President Obama’s speech? It is, of course, a perfect fit, but I wonder who suggested its use?