Well, at least according to Calvin Coolidge.
It was 1924. The veterans of WWI had very little to nothing in regards to actual benefits after serving their country on foreign soil. The “World War Adjusted Compensation Act” was brought before Congress.
The act awarded veterans additional pay in various forms, with only limited payments available in the short term. The value of each veteran’s “credit” was based on each recipient’s service in the United States Armed Forces between April 5, 1917 and July 1, 1919, with $1.00 awarded for each day served in the United States and $1.25 for each day served abroad. It set maximum payments at $500 for a veteran who served stateside and $625 for a veteran who served overseas, senior officers and anyone whose service began after November 11, 1918.
It authorized immediate payments to anyone due less than $50. The estate of a deceased veteran could be paid his award immediately if the amount was less than $500. All others were awarded an “adjusted service certificate,” which functioned like an insurance policy. Based on standard actuarial calculations, the value of a veteran’s certificate was set as the value of a 20-year insurance policy equal to 125% of the value of his service credit. Certificates were to be awarded on the veteran’s birthday no earlier than January 1, 1925 and redeemable in full on his birthday in 1945, with payments to his estate if he died before then. Certificate holders were allowed to use them as collateral for loans under certain restrictions.
The part of the Bill that deferred payment over $50 until 1945 was understandably called the “Tombstone Bonus.”
Coolidge vetoed the act saying, “Patriotism which is bought and paid for is not patriotism.”
Thankfully, Congress passed it anyway. Paving the way for future benefits for veterans.
So, thanks 1924 Congress, for recognizing that the laborer is worthy of their hire and the reality that if we, as a country, are going to ask our young to die, we should also bear the burden of their repair.