ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A World War II veteran has finally received the diploma he missed out on 75 years ago.
Henry Ross, 93, had to drop out of East High School in Rochester, N.Y., during his junior year to help support his family by entering the workforce.
Soon after, Ross was drafted by the military, and he served on 50 missions as a side door gunner on a B-24 during World War II. He also served as a radio specialist. Ross was injured during mission and received a Purple Heart award, the Democrat and Chronicle reports.
After returning from the war, Ross did not go back to finish high school. Instead, he attended Rochester Institute, where he completed an associate’s degree.
But he still thought about that high school diploma that eluded him — until now. East High School gave an honorary high school diploma to Ross on Saturday.
“Once you have been a member of our East family you are always a member, Mr. Ross. Congratulations,” Marlene Blocker, the principal of East Upper School, said at the graduation ceremony.
Blocker introduced Ross, decked out in a purple graduation cap and robe, and handed him the honorary high school diploma.
“I’m overwhelmed today,” Ross said. “The reception I have received as I walked into the building is more than I’ve ever encountered in my entire life.”