WWII Vet Gets Diploma After 69 Years

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

STROUDSBURG -- A World War II veteran received his high school diploma on Thursday during a Move Up Day ceremony at Stroudsburg High School.

He was drafted in 1945 and never received his diploma.

It was a graduation nearly 70 years in the making. The class of 2014 shared the spotlight at Stroudsburg High School with 87-year-old World War II veteran George Bush.

Bush, a member of Stroudsburg's class of 1945 sat next to his wife Emma. The two say he left for war in '45 before high school graduation.

"At that time in life there, it wasn't really that important, so you just do what you have to do," Bush said.

But nearly 70 years later, when Bush saw a fellow vet getting his diploma on TV, he mentioned it to his family of five.

"He just said to my mother, 'I wonder if I could get my diploma,'" said Bush's daughter Diane Knowles.

The principal says they're honored to help. At the school's moving up ceremony, a symbolic handoff from seniors to juniors. This time there was an even greater meaning.

"We jumped right on it because we're just so proud to be able to do it, and it's just a great event to do it at, and we're just honored to do it," said Stroudsburg High School Principal Jeff Sodl.

As Bush was handed his diploma, he was all smiles and gave a thumbs up to the crowd.

Stroudsburg students gave a standing ovation.

His family says they're happy to see this long overdue honor for the man they love.

"He's my dad. He's a good guy. He always did for his family. He never wanted anything in return, just to make us happy."

Bush says he spent his life after the war working hard, even without this piece of paper.

"I was a factory maintenance man, auto mechanic, anything that I needed to do to make a buck."

Now he hangs on tight to his diploma, and his wife of nearly 65 years couldn't be happier.

"I'm proud he's getting it," Emma Bush said. "Yes, I'm proud."