Because of the overwhelming success of this program, The Adjutant General and the Commissioner of Education are expanding the program to include veterans from the Korean and Vietnam wars.
More than 500 of New Jersey's 100,000 living World War II veterans have already applied for their diplomas as part of the program Operation Recognition.
Governor Christie Whitman presented the first high school diplomas of Operation Recognition to 98 WWII veterans at the War Memorial in Trenton November 3.
"You missed high school's milestones because your nation needed you,and you responded selflessly," said Gov. Whitman. "We can't give you back memories of the senior prom or graduation. But we can put in your hand an important milestone - your high school diploma."
"I am asking local school leaders throughout the state to realize the opportunities this program will present to enhance their social studies and history curriculums," said Commissioner of Education David Hespe. "I ask school districts to consider awarding these diplomas as part of Veterans Day or Memorial Day observances,or at commencement exercises."
Secaucus High School with the help of Radisson Hotels is holding a prom May 17 and graduation May 18 for veterans from Hudson,Bergen and Essex counties.To help with this ceremony or for more information,call Mike Germann at (201)974-2028.
The Department of Human Services in Middlesex has committed to a graduation ceremony for veterans of that county,but has not set the date.
No other counties have confirmed ceremonies. "We are looking for your help to organize graduation ceremonies in your community," explained Patty Ann Richter."For guidance,assistance and more information,give me a call." Patty Ann Richter can be reached at (609)530-7052.
Programs similar to Operation Recognition have been established in other states including Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
To qualify a resident New Jersey veteran must have left a New Jersey high school to directly enter military service between the dates of:
- Sept.16,1940 and Dec.31,1946
- June 23,1950 and Jan.31,1955
- Dec.31,1960 and May 7,1975
Veterans of all the branches of service including Merchant Marine and Coast Guard as well as those who have earned a General Educational Development Diploma (GED)qualify.Diplomas may also be issued posthumously;surviving family members of eligible veterans are encouraged to apply.
Qualified veterans may apply to receive the state-endorsed high school diploma.To apply for Operation Recognition diplomas, send a copy of your DD-214 or discharge papers,the name and address of the high school you attended, the year you would have graduated,your name,address and daytime phone number to:
Eggert Crossing Road Box 340
For more information, call Patty Ann Richter at (609)530-7052.