Emmons sponsors legislation to award high school diplomas to Vietnam War veterans

Sen. Judy Emmons introduced legislation on Thursday to recognize the sacrifice made by many Vietnam War veterans by allowing them to be awarded high school diplomas.

“Many of our veterans have made significant sacrifices to defend our freedom, including their education,” said Emmons, R-Sheridan.  “My bill will allow schools to award a high school diploma to veterans who served in the Vietnam War instead of completing high school. This is a way to honor the sacrifice made by a generation of service men and women and show our appreciation for their service during this era.”

Currently, Michigan allows school boards to award high school diplomas to veterans of World War II and the Korean conflict.

Emmons’ measure, Senate Bill 389, would extend that special recognition to veterans of the Vietnam War, defined as service between Feb. 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975.

“Since 2001, Michigan has expressed its gratitude for World War II veterans who put the defense of our country before their own education,” Emmons said. “I co-sponsored the 2003 measure that extended this tribute to Korean War veterans and now it’s time to include our Vietnam veterans. It may seem like a small thing, but to our veterans and their families it is an important acknowledgement of everything they gave up so that we could remain free.”

Under Emmons’ bill, qualified veterans must have served honorably during the Vietnam Era, must have enlisted in or been drafted into the armed forces before high school graduation, must not have subsequently graduated from high school and must be at least 65 years old or have reached age 65 by the time of death.

An application form for the diploma would be submitted to the school district the veteran was enrolled in at the time of enlistment and could be completed by the veteran or on his or her behalf by a spouse, sibling, child or grandchild.