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‘Across the Aisle’ chronicles passage of Montgomery G.I. Bill

April 23, 2011

By KENNETH BILLINGS
For Starkville Daily News

A detailed account of the legislative process leading to passage of the historic Montgomery G.I. Bill is the topic of a new book by the late congressman and Mississippi State alumnus who was its namesake.
Rep. G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery began “Across the Aisle” in 2005 with the assistance of Darryl Kehrer and Mike McGrevey. Just released by University Press of Mississippi, the 244-page chronicle covers a seven-year journey to passage of extended benefits--especially in education--of the original 1947 G.I. Bill.
Montgomery died May 12, 2006. A Meridian native and 1943 business graduate, he was a former student body president at the land-grant university.
“Being able to see this book through to completion has truly been a labor of love for both Darryl and me,” said McGrevey, a former MSU vice president of administration and finance. “Because we have such a great respect and admiration for Congressman Montgomery, we felt compelled to document and capture his greatness as an American patriot.”
All sale proceeds will be shared by MSU’s Montgomery Center for America’s Veterans and Mitchell Memorial Library, which houses the Montgomery Collection.
Kehrer is the Montgomery Center’s former public policy officer.
Using more than 450 visuals and excerpts from the congressional debate, “Across the Isle” brings the legislative process to life in a unique first-person perspective. Additionally, the narrative allows readers to follow the bill from conception through its 1987 passage.
Copies may be ordered via the publisher’s website www.upress.state.ms.us/books/1406
Known widely as “Mr. Veteran,” Montgomery retired in 1996 after a 41-year public career that also included a decade in the Mississippi Senate. Following a 1966 election to the U. S. House of Representatives, he held the 3rd District office through seven presidential terms.
Montgomery also devoted three decades of his life to military service, including active duty in World War II and the Korean War. He retired from the Mississippi Army National Guard with the rank of major general.
In 2005, President George W. Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor awarded by the United States.

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