The Florida Legislature has done a commendable thing in allowing veterans to claim diploma’s they missed out on earlier in life. Showing the public that soldiers deserve special honors like these sets a good example for future generations in honoring those who fight for our country.
According to the Charlotte Herald-Tribune, the veterans receiving diploma’s yesterday were from 13 states and fought in either World War II or the Korean War. None of them ever completed high school due to being drafted into the war, and afterward, life got in the way of completing that education.
One man, Gordon Pearce, had never been farther than Tampa in his life when he joined the war effort. Others are children of immigrant parents or immigrants themselves, working through an education system with a foreign language. They see the diploma as a gift, since they probably wouldn’t have graduated even without the war.
Most of the soldiers pointed out that the lack of a diploma was something that had haunted them for years. Frank Cucio wanted to volunteer at the sheriff’s office in Lee County and was told he couldn’t without a high school diploma.
In 1941, the United States drafted 1,225,000 men to fight the war in Europe. Of those, about 950,000 between 18 and 24. Alabama and Florida are the only states that have decided to grant high school, and in some cases, college diplomas to veterans who were called to serve before they could complete their academic careers.
The United States has a long history of bloody battles and brave soldiers, but in recent times, especially after the Vietnam War, soldiers had to fight for recognition. This move by the Florida Legislature is something too rarely seen, and they should be proud of their efforts to make Veterans Day special for those who served our country.