Vietnam vets deserve to be honored

Residents may remember some special graduates at commencement ceremonies at Escanaba High School and other area schools in years past. They were World War Ii veterans. These men had not been able to graduate from high school because they answered the call to serve their country during World War II. Decades later, the Escanaba School District and other school systems presented these men with their high school diplomas – an honor long overdue. Some of the men even received their diplomas in the same graduation ceremony as their grandchildren.

The images were powerful – and touching. It was a noble cause to give these veterans something they so richly deserved after so long.

What many people may not realize is that it is a state law that allows school districts to present diplomas to veterans of World War II and the Korean War.

Very soon, veterans of the Vietnam War will be honored in the same way.

Legislation is close to arriving at the desk of Gov. Rick Snyder that would let high schools award diplomas to Vietnam War-era veterans who enlisted or were drafted before graduating.

The Michigan House has unanimously approved a bill making Vietnam veterans eligible. The Senate was expected to give final approval to the legislation as well before it goes to the governor. The bill’s sponsor is Republican Sen. Judy Emmons of Sheridan.

This is legislation our lawmakers should feel good about backing. Vietnam veterans are more than deserving of this recognition and honor. They deserve our gratitude, and bestowing them with a high school diploma is one way to show that gratitude.

We hope to see some deserving Vietnam veterans at local commencement ceremonies in the near future.