Here’s one without a simple answer: Military.com ran a story this week about a recently passed New Hampshire law that allows high school students who have completed basic training to wear their military uniforms to their graduation ceremonies. The state joins Pennsylvania and California as the only states that mandate the privilege.
The push for the New Hampshire law was led by Jessie Kelley, the mother of Marine Lance Cpl. Brandon Garabrant. Garbant fought unsuccessfully to wear his uniform to his 2013 graduation from ConVal Regional High School. He was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan on June 20, 2014.
In May, Pvt. Megan Howerton was not allowed to walk in her graduation from McHenry West High School in Illinois when, just before the ceremony, she asked to collect her diploma wearing her Marine Corps dress blues. When told she would have to wear her gown over the uniform, she decided not to participate.
In a statement, the Marine Corps Recruiting Station Chicago respected the school’s position. They believe schools should make their own rules because “graduations recognize the academic accomplishments of the class and the class’s final chapter at that institution.”
Do schools have a point? No branch of the U.S. military would allow a new recruit to wear his or her graduation gown to boot camp? Should everyone wear the same “uniform” at graduation? Or would allowing uniforms act as a reminder to the civilians in attendance that some people do choose to serve their country? What do you think? Sound off!