Our view: Diplomas say 'thank you' to veterans

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This Veterans Day marks the fourth year that we will commemorate the sacrifices of our military servicemen and women at a time when we are a nation at war.

Today, a new generation of veterans fights for democracy and against terrorism. Our thoughts and prayers are with them as they perform their duties in dangerous conditions.

But for local veterans whose battlefield days are decades behind them, we're glad their contributions haven't been forgotten. We have a great support network for veterans in Moffat County, and this year the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post has made a push to help veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam get their high school diplomas.

"Operation Recognition" is authorized by state law and offered by the Colorado Board of Veterans Affairs in cooperation with the Colorado Department of Education and the Colorado Association of School Boards.

The program allows veterans 60 and older who served their country and did not complete high school to earn a diploma. Although the diploma is largely honorary, there is some sound logic in bestowing it upon veterans because it sums up the life experience they gained when they had to leave the classroom early.

The Colorado Department of Military and Veterans Affairs sums up this concept thoughtfully:

"They learned geography by traveling to foreign lands that they would have only learned about through text books.

"They studied biology through the medical attention they offered their fellow soldiers when they were wounded.

"Their psychology lessons came from sharing compassion when their comrades died in their arms.

"In the subject of history they not only learned it, they MADE history, and we are the recipients of the world they saved."

We appreciate the Moffat County School District agreeing to award diplomas to these veterans.

But we give a special nod to the VFW for making it a priority and beating the bushes in search of eligible veterans who deserve the honor.

The deadline has passed for veterans to be honored during the Veterans Day dinner at the VFW, but those interested can still apply for a diploma by contacting Veterans Service Officer Johnny Garcia at 824-3264.

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