Watch his delightful smile during his graduation walk.
Video Credit: CBS Miami
The dream come true for two war veterans on Saturday when they finally graduated after waiting for decades.
Both left high school at a young age to enter the military. One served in World War II and the other in the Korean War.
On Saturday, Joe Perricone, 95, of Florida, and Bill William Arnold Craddock, 85, of Tennessee, wore a graduation gown and walked towards their high school stages to receive diplomas alongside regular 2019 class members.
Joe Perricone, 95, was a student at Hillsborough High School in Tampa, Florida, when he was selected to serve in the US Army in World War II in 1943. He told CNN affiliate WFLA that he got his diploma, but never walked for graduation.
After 70+ years later, his grandson, Judge Thomas Palermo, worked with the school to fulfill his grandfather’s dream and arranged for him to walk with the class of 2019.
The school has honored Perricone for his service at the ceremony. school officials paid tribute to Perricone, who then received a standing ovation from teachers and students.
“We would like to welcome a very special guest. Joe Perricone is a member of the Hillsborough class of 1943,” Principal Gary Brady said.
“He was honorably discharged in 1946. He has been married to his wife for 72 years. He will be receiving his long overdue and well-earned diploma with the class of 2019, 76 years after his own graduation day,” Brady added of Perricone, who was joined on stage by his daughter Dolores and grandson.
When Bill William Arnold Craddock was 16, he joined the Air Force and left Volunteer High School in Church Hill, Tennessee, without graduating. Craddock, who is 85, would have graduated in 1953 from Science Hill High School. But, he chose to serve in the Korean War.
Craddock told CNN affiliate WJHL that he complete his GED but never got to walk in graduation. Now, the dream has come true for this veteran after 66 years.
“It means a lot to me… I’m tickled pink I went through this to get this,” Craddock told WJHL.
Craddock advised for the class of 2019 students and those he would have walked within 1953: “Study hard, be good, and learn all you can. Get the best education you can get.”
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