symbolic honor for WWII vets
When it meets next Thursday, the Yellow Springs Board of Education should
do the right thing and give final approval to a proposal to award diplomas
to veterans who left high school to fight in World War II. Though such
an award would be largely symbolic, the school district would make a strong
statement that it values the contributions of WWII veterans by making
it an official policy of the school board.
This proposal, which is actually a state policy, would allow the school
board to recognize the efforts of World War II veterans who did not graduate
from high school and instead fought in the war. Any veteran who left school
to serve in the military and who currently lives in Ohio would be eligible
to receive a diploma from the board, though the intent of the school districts
policy is to award diplomas to WWII veterans who attended Bryan High School.
Diplomas may also be awarded posthumously to eligible veterans. Rich Bullock,
the school board president, estimated a total of 12 people from Bryan
High might be eligible.
This proposal has gone through a fair amount of discussion among the school
board. Earlier this fall, it was introduced, but board members, concerned
about awarding unearned diplomas and disregarding conscientious objectors,
turned it down. Last month, however, Mr. Bullock reintroduced the proposal,
saying his need to honor veterans outweighed concerns about any precedent
the policy might set. The board, following his lead, voted 32 to
approve an initial reading of the proposal. A second reading on the policy
will take place when the board meets next Thursday, Dec. 12.
The concerns raised by board members about this policy have merit. Under
most circumstances, awarding unearned diplomas is not a good idea. Awarding
diplomas to veterans, however, is not a typical situation. One could easily
argue that WWII veterans have earned their diplomas, no matter how late
in life they receive them.
It is also important to recognize the sacrifices made by those who choose
not to participate in war and military conflict for philosophical, political
or religious reasons. This is especially true in Yellow Springs, whose
residents have often opposed military actions. Thats why last month
Mr. Bullock also introduced a resolution recognizing both WWII veterans
and conscientious objectors. The school board unanimously approved the
If one were to ever call a war a noble and necessary cause, World War
II would certainly qualify. Its veterans deserve our admiration. As small
a gesture as it may be, awarding diplomas to a few veterans is one way
we can thank them for serving this country. The strongest case for supporting
this measure was made by Mr. Bullock, who said in an interview that, torn
between his heart and his head on this issue, he has decided to follow