When I first told you about Operation Recognition for Vietnam veterans, proposed by State Rep. Richard Grucela, D-Northampton, one of you snarked that "populist proposals in the run up to one's election are easy to identify." Grucela decided to retire at the end of his term this year, but continued to pursue legislation that would recognize Vietnam War vets who left school early to serve their country. Today, the House unanimously agreed they should be awarded High School diplomas.
Under this bill, school boards may establish a program identical to what has already been used in the past for World War II and Korean War veterans.
"Some veterans may have felt uncomfortable returning to school at a later age or simply needed to work full time to support themselves," Grucela said. "Whatever the reason, a high school diploma is a mile marker in life that provides a sense of accomplishment and should not be denied to them. My legislation would offer a small, but important show of appreciation to all those who sacrificed their education to ensure our freedoms."
Any honorably discharged veteran who served in the Vietnam War between Feb. 28, 1961, and May 7, 1975, would be eligible for a diploma. The veteran would have to have attended high school between 1958 and 1975 and have been a member of a graduation class during the years 1962 through 1975.
School boards would also be able to award a diploma posthumously to an eligible veteran.
Grucela is a former teacher and a member of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee.