Today in Springfield, the Illinois House of Representatives passed a bill introduced by State Representative Mike Unes (R-East Peoria) that would allow Illinois high schools to award posthumous diplomas to military veterans killed in the line of duty.
“This bill allows school districts to honor their former students who never received the chance to lead a normal life that nearly all young graduates enjoy,” said Rep Unes. “There can never be too many ways to recognize those who have given the ultimate sacrifice to our country with their military service. It is my privilege to help create this opportunity to remember those brave young soldiers who sacrificed their own futures for the sake of ours.”
The initiative was inspired by a group of known former Canton High school students who did not obtain their diplomas before deploying for service, and who ultimately lost their lives to combat during the Vietnam War.
“The Canton Union School District is extremely grateful to Representative Unes for introducing this unique legislation,” said Rolf Sivertsen, Superintendent. “It is impossible for me to imagine any of my current high school juniors and seniors dropping out of school to go to war, yet it wasn’t long ago when students of that age were leaving this very high school to go and risk their lives in dangerous and far-away places. Honoring these soldiers with a posthumous diploma is the very least that we can do to recognize their tremendous bravery.”
As important as honoring these fallen heroes is the opportunity for today’s students to learn of the sacrifices of previous generations. Ceremonies, such as the one planned at Canton High School, will educate today’s students about those brave teens who sat in the same classrooms that they occupy today, carrying important lessons of American history and patriotism.
HB 2177, which cleared the House, now heads to the Illinois Senate for approval.
For questions, please contact Rep Unes’ Pekin District Office, 309-620-8631