88 Year Old Vet Finally Receives Diploma - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

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88 Year Old Vet Finally Receives Diploma

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KISSIMMEE, F.L. - A Florida Veteran thought he was attending Liberty High School's graduation ceremony to represent his generation.

What he didn't know was that Osceola County School District leaders and community leaders had a surprise for him, on the ceremony program.

Charles Waters Jr. served in the Navy, Air Force and Army before he was forced to retire in 1967 after a military accident.

Two months ago, the World War II veteran called community leader Cathy Haynes about the honor flight program.

"I just started asking some questions and then it dawned on me. I asked if he had received his high school diploma," said Haynes.

He hadn't.

The 88-year-old left for boot camp back in 1943, one month before he was scheduled to graduate from his high school in Edgartown, Massachusetts.

"I just figured it wasn't going to happen," said Charles.

Haynes called school leaders in Osceola County and up North.

They all worked together and then invited him to their ceremony.

Waters knew other veterans would attend, but he didn't know they would be there for him.

Principal Studly then called Waters to the stage.

71 years later, Waters received his diploma.

Everyone was in on the secret, including his daughter and wife of 36 years.

"I cried. I was just thrilled. I really was. It's a... it's a time of pride I guess. He's waited a long time," explained his wife Ruth.

"I couldn't believe it. It's a surprise that I've been looking for, for years," Charles added

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