Military students to receive honor cords

The Fairfax County School Board voted March 8 to allow for students attending a military school to receive a special cord at graduation.

According to a Washington Post article published March 8, there was a clause in the decision stating students could decide whether or not they want to receive the cord.

While many schools have had their own traditions for commencement ceremonies, principal Dan Meier said receiving recognition for this has not been a staple of the ceremonies before this year.

“In the past, each school has been permitted to conduct their commencement ceremonies within their traditions,” Meier said. “Last year, parents asked if schools were honoring students who were enlisting in the military.”

Meier said the idea came up in the eleventh hour when preparations for the ceremonies were already set, so there was not time to have the cords last year.

“We did not really have much time to think about it, because the ceremonies had already been planned,” Meier said.

Junior Chad Susanke said he appreciates the cord given, because he believes it is a meaningful reward for showing patriotism and the sacrifices he is about to make.

“It symbolizes a commitment that cannot be broken,” Susanke said. “I had to pledge in front of an airforce officer that I would do everything in my power to protect this country and our freedom, so I see this as a symbolic gesture to keep that commitment.”

Susanke said most of his family is in the military, so he views it almost as a rite of passage.

“My family believes strongly in giving back to our country, and this is the best way that I can do it,” Susanke said.

Meier said the distribution of cords is something the school should have done earlier.

Meier said, “We’re named after a Medal Of Honor recipient, so we should honor students who are making the commitment to enlist in the Military.”