Dakota Datebook

Help for Veterans 1919

Monday, November 13, 2017

 

Returning soldiers face challenges when they leave the service. This has long been a concern. In 1776, the Continental Congress authorized pensions for disabled veterans, and in 1827 a hospital called the Naval Asylum was the first effort to provide continuing medical care. President Lincoln, in his Second Inaugural Address, called upon the nation to “care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.” World War I spawned the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1918, recognizing that the veterans of World War I faced substantial challenges. Any honorably discharged disabled veteran was eligible for vocational rehabilitation training.

On this date in 1919, the North Dakota Agricultural College in Fargo announced that returning veterans should not hesitate to apply to the school. The school realized that disabled veterans were not the only ones who needed assistance. Able-bodied veterans would need jobs, and the NDAC said “The returned soldier is anxious to prepare himself in some trade or profession.”  The school felt that veterans could bring important skills to agriculture, and would help improve farming methods. Veterans had been exposed to new ways of doing things both in the training camps and in their travels, generating fresh ideas about better livestock, improving soil quality, introducing new crops, and adjusting crop rotation to increase yields. The war had also clearly demonstrated the adaptability of power equipment, which was poised to revolutionize agriculture.

To help veterans put their ideas into practice, the NDAC touted its courses in animal husbandry, draftsmanship, construction, and power machinery. The school even promised to assist with financing until the veteran started receiving military benefits.

Today, there is even more awareness of the challenges faced by veterans, with programs available like free health and wellness services. Job search websites often highlight opportunities for returning solders, and a number of industries have even created jobs designed specifically for the nation’s veterans.

Dakota Datebook written by Carole Butcher

Oakes Times. “Soldiers’ Opportunities at North Dakota Agricultural College.” Oakes, ND. 13 November 1919. Page 1.

Returning Veterans Project. “About Us.” http://www.returningveterans.org/about-us  Accessed 19 October 2017.

Career Search. “Opportunities for Returning Veterans.” http://www.careersearch.com/careers-for-the-troops/ Accessed 19 October 2017.

Energy in Depth. “Oil and Gas Industry Creates New Job Opportunities for Returning Veterans. https://energyindepth.org/national/oil-and-gas-industry-creates-new-job-opportunities-for-returning-veterans/  Accessed 19 October 2017.

Department of Veterans Affairs. “History in Brief.” https://www.va.gov/opa/publications/archives/docs/history_in_brief.pdf  Accessed 19 October 2017.

This text and audio may not be copied without securing prior permission from Prairie Public.

Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

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