On the day he should’ve graduated, 70 years ago, he was otherwise engaged, fighting on behalf of America and her Allies in World War II.
Some of you will remember Bob from a couple of months ago, when he went on an Honor Flight to Washington, DC. Having read that story, you might’ve thought it would be impossible to top that day in May!
But, thanks to a man named Richard, Bob has experienced another day filled with honor and joy! Richard is the sheriff of an upstate New York county and may go down in history as the most thoughtful guy ever.
Richard was familiar with a program called “Operation Recognition,” which authorizes school districts to grant a high school diploma to any honorably discharged veteran who served in the United States military during World War II, Korean Conflict or Vietnam War.
Richard contacted our school district and they enthusiastically agreed that Bob should graduate. They took care of everything and made Bob feel like the hero in his own fairy tale.
A solo walk down the aisle, leading in all graduates of the class of 2014.
The biggest highlight for those of us who accompanied Bob on his big day? His unalloyed pleasure at being recognized so generously and fully.
But, of course, we all know there was a test. A big test. A test that far exceeded any we ever face, those of us who stay home in our own country, safe and secure, and who finish high school on schedule.
It was a test that no amount of studying could’ve prepared those boys for, the ones who, like Bob, left school to defend their country in World War II.
And we are where we are today because they, as a fighting force, aced their exam. The boys who left school were the men who came home or, in so many cases, died even as they passed their test.
On Friday night, it was as if we honored them all, all those boys who sacrificed so much. It was the very least we could do, after all they did for us.